Soulless by Gail Carriger #Review

Soulless by Gail Carriger #ReviewSoulless by Gail Carriger

Series: #1 The Parasol Protectorate
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Steampunk Romance
Published by Small Publisher on October 1, 2009
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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four-stars      three-half-flames

This book and those that come after it in the Parasol Protectorate series has been on my radar for some time.  I love a blending of steampunk and paranormal so it caught my eye the minute I saw it a few years back.  Finally, I had the opportunity to start it and it was quite the surprise with the addition of the humor, creative paranormal background, and the sparkling chemistry amongst the cast of characters.

The book opens with eccentric spinster, Alexia Tarabotti slipping into her ball hosts’ library where she had sent for tea all because the promised spread of food was scarce.  Miss Tarabotti had no other reason to enjoy the party since she was the odd, odder looking older child from a previous shameful marriage for her mother who preferred to hang her hopes on Miss Tarabotti’s younger, pretty silly half-sisters.

But the library is not unoccupied.  A very young and ignorant rogue vampire decides she’s his next meal and the kerfuffle leads to a dead vampire, a decimated tea cart, and an impatient werewolf investigation team lead by the aggravating Lord Maccon questioning her.

Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccon rile each other up with each new encounter and find the attraction between them inconvenient- until it is suddenly not.  Only disappearing vampires and werewolves, reappearance of more newly made rogues, the creepy appearance of a mysterious man that’s not quite human, kidnapping attempts, and Miss Tarabotti’s informative friend Lord Akeldama even in the dark lead to dangerous and exciting times for them all.

From page one, I was enchanted by this fun story.  Alexia Tarabotti is a blend of sensible and scientific with quirky, strong-willed and heedlessness when she’s nosing out the answers.  Conall Maccon is a good foil for her with his brash, equally stubborn and sensible nature alongside his willingness to see the true diamond in a lady that almost all of London society rejects or ignores because she is different.  They are surrounded by a colorful set from the avant-garde Lord Akeldama with his flamboyant mannerisms and appearance, but cunning aged knowledge and Maccon’s beta the canny and astute Professor Lyall, Alexia’s family, and her best friend who is a poor judge of fashion.

The story does well as an opening to a series with its good pacing of background and set up without bogging down the current plot.  Things move along with steady development of romance for Alexia and Conall and spikes of excitement from the action side of the plot.  I loved to see them working the case from different angles and that exciting climax scene.

The build of romance is full of sparks and eventually heat as the intrepid Alexia gets curious about her attraction and Maccon can’t seemed to resist the sharp-tongued independent female that also exasperates him beyond measure.

The end of the story left things in a good place for the rest of the series with the current situation solved, but a chance for this pair and their friends to get involved in further adventures.

The steampunk and paranormal elements were balanced well.  Gadgets and inventions had their showing alongside a very different way of explaining the presence of paranormals.

All in all, this was a fun story and the beginning of what I suspect will be an addicting series.  If you enjoy quirky characters and worldbuilding with a blend of steampunk, paranormal, and romance, then give this one a go.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #265 SP
Mt. TBR #97
New to Me #111 author/series

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • I have this one on my next steampunk to-read. I still need to finish the last 2 books in her ya series, but I will definitely be reading this. Great review!

    • Oh, yay! Look forward to your thoughts on this one. I’ve heard her YA is pretty good, too. Those are on my list after I finish this series b/c I heard they are tied in a little.

  • I’ve not read anything by this author! I do love steampunk, and haven’t read any steampunk in quite some time. Adult steampunk novels are usually SO great! 😀

    Wonderful review, Sophia. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I tend to enjoy the steampunk blends more than the straight steampunks, but I’m acquiring a taste for it more and more. Hope you get the chance to try this one, Alyssa!

  • Leona Woolfolk

    I’ve had my eye on this series as well and am glad that I found your review! It seems to hold all the qualities I like to read about in a paranormal / steampunk romance. Have you by chance read Kate Locke’s Immortal Empires series?

    • Thanks, Leona! I’m so glad you tripped over my review, too. I love the blended SP/PNR better than straight up Steampunk so I’m always on the scout for more. I’m not familiar with Kate Locke’s series. I’ll have to check it out.
      Have you read Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk yet? or Delilah Dawson’s Blud series?

      • Leona Woolfolk

        I’ve read the first book in the Bec McMaster’s and I keep meaning to continue it but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve also had my eye on the Blud series but have gone back and forth on reading it.

        • Oh good! I thought the London Steampunk series was fantastic. I look forward to the spin-off series.
          The Blud series is rather unique and has a flavor that isn’t to everyone’s taste. Maybe macabre is the best word to describe it?

          The Kate Locke books look fantastic. I’ve added them to my list. Thanks!

  • Psst…I have an unopened box set of books 1 to 4 (i think it’s 4) of this set…eek gads, you reminded me why I bought them!

    • Oh man! I would be embarrassed to death if a reader pal got a look at my kindle and real life shelves. Yep, loaded with fantastic books that need to be read. LOL

  • I’ve had this series on my TBR for a few years now. I even own books 1-4 (or 5). Too many books and not even damn time to read them. LOL

    • I hear ya. This was one of those for me. I have books 2,3 and 5 so I can keep going and then just snag four, but it will take me forever to come back to it based on my bad habits of jumping around lately. 😉

  • I adore paranormal romance and this has some elements that I haven’t read yet. I still haven’t read a steampunk romance so this sounds really good to me.

    • Yes, this one blends the two- steampunk and paranormal. It’s probably a good one for easing into the steampunk genre b/c it’s light on the steampunk.

  • Oh yes I really enjoyed this one and when I finished I wonder how she would be able to make a good sequel but she did! I need to finish the series I think I have the last book to read

    • Oh, that is good to know that the sequel is just as good, Melliane. I have it and the third book ready for when I can get on with the series.

  • I have many of these books sitting in my kindle library begging to be read. I remember reading the preview of this book and immediately buying the book bundle….and then forgetting about it. Your review has made me want to dig this one out. I am glad you enjoyed it!

    • Oh, you won’t hear any criticism, here, Carole. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that.

      But, yay, glad I could recall it to mind for you. 🙂

  • I read this one years ago, but can’t remember too much. I think I gave it a 3 stars, I did like the atmosphere, but it didn’t fully grab me. These two sure do make for a great couple. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one and I liked reading your thoughts about this one. I hope you enjoy the later books as much as this one.

    • Oh cool! I know lots of people have already read this series and I’m late to it, but I was glad to finally pick up the first book. It does have a lot of introductory matters going on so maybe that is part of what didn’t grab you. I thought it was slower going until the last half. Hopefully the next book will jump right in.

  • Woohoo! It sounds like it’s just as good as the YA ones. I’ve really enjoyed the audio on those. Definitely need to find time to get these in as well 😀

    • It sure was good, Anna. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and the YA series that is in the same world I’ve been told.

  • I really want to try this series. I have the 1st book so I need to get to it soon. Great review Sophia

    • Oh good! Glad you already have it. I think you’ll have fun with this one, Sharonda!