10 Apr 2011

Review: "Soulless" - Steampunk with soul

Steampunk. What a cool word! Even before I knew what it meant, I knew that I loved the word. It sounds so full of energy, dynamic, cool, rock'n'roll. So of course I had to give the genre a go. Now for those of you (who like me a short while ago) do not know what steampunk is, I found this definition on Wikipedia:
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

My first attempt at the steampunk genre is "Soulless" by Gail Carrigan, the first book in a series about Alexia Tarrabotti, a parasol-loving old maid with tan skin and a slightly large nose. Alexia is a preternatural which means that she has no soul and therefore has a neutralizing effect on supernaturals such as vampires and werewolves. Now in this story, Victorian England is a country where vampires, werewolves and humans live side by side in an atmosphere of some tension and reluctant acceptance on both sides. Alexia is a spinster - she has turned 26 years without managing to catch a husband, something that she herself doesn't regard as a problem but which means that she is treated as a burden by her mother, stepfather and two stepsisters, all of whom seem to be exceedingly silly. Alexia is a practical girl with a lively temper and a thirst for knowledge. She has a mind of her own and when a vampire tries to feed on her, she kills him with her umbrella. Investigations into this episode is done by Lord Maccon, a very manly werewolf with whom Alexia is constantly fighting - and as you know love and hate does not lie far apart... So as werewolves and vampires begin to disappear mysteriously, Alexia and Lord Maccon's relationship begins to sizzle.
I have to say that this was an entertaining read. Alexia is a great heroine with lots of personality - she seems to be a sort of mix of Sookie Stackhouse and your average Georgette Heyer heroine which I have to say is a really interesting mix! Stubborn, courageous, headstrong, prickly, cake-lover who is not easily scared by society ladies' opinions or hives of vampires.
So if you like a bit of romance mixed with some paranormal creatures and lots of drama, this should be a book for you.

For other reviews of this delicious debut novel, please visit:
Pensieri Persi: http://greenyellowale.blogspot.com/2011/04/review-soulless-by-gail-carriger.html

Wondrous Reads: http://www.wondrousreads.com/2011/03/review-soulless-by-gail-carriger.html

Reading in a Single Sitting: http://www.readinasinglesitting.com/2010/05/27/review-soulless-by-gail-carriger/


  1. It is a fantastic word! :) I love steampunk and Victorian England, but I don't enjoy reading about vampires and werewolves that much. Stil...I might give it a try :)

  2. Next time I think I will go for steampunk minus the vamps and weres - can you recommend something?

  3. I have seen this book around (what an awesome cover!) and now I want to read it even more. I haven't read too much steampunk, honestly, but it is really intriguing to me. Alternate history? Love it. SF? Love it.