I had a few false starts on my reading list this month – don’t you hate that? I see a book, it’s a great premise and looks like a fun read, but then it appears that they stopped editing after the first two chapters, or worse, didn’t edit at all. What can I say, I’m a picky reader - a VERY picky reader - and I did promise that I wouldn't misbehave and would only discuss books that I like.
I did, however, find a delightful book that I really enjoyed – Soulless, by Gail Carriger. This is not a new book – in fact, I believe the ‘Parasol Protectorate’ series has been wrapped up with five books in all – but then we’ve already established that I’m not exactly cutting edge with my reading list. I like that, though. Instead of reading what everyone else is reading because everyone else is reading it, I get to take my time and I don't tend to get super-saturated with certain subjects like vampires, or zombies, or what have you. It helps to evaluate a book based on the merits of the writing, not on how it fits into the trend of the day.
Soulless, by Gail Carriger - Overview
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Published in 2009, this is the first time I’ve run across this book, and I really enjoyed it. Since I often have to multi-task, I listened to it, rather than read it (thank you Kindle Fire for offering AWESOME Audible deals), but I will probably actually read the rest of the series. Described as a cross between, fantasy, romance and steam punk, I really enjoyed the alternate world that Ms. Carriger built within the structure of Victorian England, and how these two structures not only existed side by side, but often overlapped.
It was funny and original and I thoroughly enjoyed it, actually laughing out loud in places. I like books that force a laugh out of me. I’m generally a smiler – it’s funny, I smile, maybe chuckle quietly. But when something makes me actually laugh, we’re automatically best friends.
The only thing I didn’t like about Soulless was the sex. I’m sure in comparison to some popular books (50 Shades of Yikes, perhaps?) it’s pretty tame but, nevertheless, I thought it was unnecessary and distracting. There were precisely three intimate scenes (well, three and a half if you count the first kiss), and the book could have been just fine with only the first two and a half. The carriage scene in the epilogue was too much, unnecessary and weird placement. In the epilogue? That’s for wrap-up, not for sex.
Well, this is my opinion, and you don’t have to agree. Romance is not my favorite material – for reading or writing, even though there is an element of romance in most stories, and I do understand that quite a lot of people like it… A LOT. There is an element of romance in 'The Mage Sister', in fact, but folks in Kynllaria do not openly discuss their intimate conquests and would not appreciate it if I discussed it for them. I just don’t enjoy it as a main theme and bearing witness to someone else’s intimacy is, well, icky. I know, how extremely, boringly straight-laced of me, but there it is. I’m simply wired that way. And I firmly believe that it’s more fun to be a little naughty and let your imagination take it away from there.
Even so, there was a lot to enjoy about the book. I absolutely loved Lord Akeldama (He was simply too divine, my darling petunia petal!). And I do plan to read the next books, and possibly even check out her 'Finishing School' series – I’ll just skip over the icky bits.