Soulless by Gail Carriger
Even though I voraciously devour The Dresden Files whenever a new books appears, I wasn’t quite sure a book dealing with vampires and werewolves, but no magic, would appeal to me. In the end, it was the cover that sold me. After realizing it was set in Victorian England, I was intrigued and decided to buy it.
Best decision ever.
Soulless is a delightful mix of hilarity, romance and the supernatural, and never once did I find myself bored with what I was reading.
The premise of Soulless is this: Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster who possesses the remarkable distinction of being born without a soul – hence the title. As such, she is able to nullify all traces of the supernatural by merely touching the skin of any vampire or werewolf. The caveat is that this unique ability only works while maintaining contact. If broken, the supernatural powers are restored.
When Alexia is attacked at a London ball by a rather disheveled vampire, she is forced to kill him. This event sets the story in motion as Alexia soon discovers vampires are appearing and disappearing all throughout London. The Vampire Hive thinks Alexia’s responsible. Lord Maccon, Alpha of the Woolsey werewolf pack and Head of BUR, knows she isn’t and tries to determine who is. To top it all off, a shady villain and frightening henchman have their sights set on Alexia.
What’s a girl to do? Drink more tea, of course.
Soulless is one of the wittiest and best-developed books with a strong heroine that I’ve read in quite a long time. Rather than rely on the traditional male hero to swoop in and save the day, Alexia embodies tenacity, critical thinking, stubbornness and independence – rare qualities not often found in the female leads of most books. That alone makes the book worth reading.
Add to that an intoxicating blend of alternative history where werewolves and vampires helped shaped the English Crown and British politics, and you end up with a brilliant book that moves at a quick pace and delivers a solid story. There was not a single moment this book didn’t captivate me, and I went out and bought the next book in the series as soon as I closed the back cover.
Soulless is exactly what it sells itself as: A comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking. How utterly charming!