Review: Soulless, Gail Carriger

02 Jan

Print“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?”

Oh but this was a joy from start to finish. Bad, bad me for leaving it so late to get around to this series! Soulless is a compelling mix of genres that really shouldn’t work, but does, and does so wonderfully at that. Think historical urban fantasy with a liberal sprinkling of steampunk, served up with fresh twists of Wodehouse, Austen and Dickens on the side. Utterly, utterly gorgeous. I couldn’t put it down.

Carriger’s way with words is a delight throughout, and everything about this novel is so beautifully original and individual that I’ve absolutely no one to compare her to within the Fantasy genre. A stand alone literary delight of an author in genre waters that are so often murky with mediocrity, heavily borrowed plot devices and stereotypical characters.

I had no end of fun with Alexia and Co. The little touches, the deft gentle strokes of comedy genius had me grinning like a madwoman. Finally a novel featuring vampires and werewolves where you don’t instantly know what to expect and don’t consistently want to vomit.

The pace of the novel is noticeably slow to start with, but the world-building and character development are so masterful that I didn’t care an ounce, there was so much to look at and enjoy that I was just fine thank you very much. In fact you could have left me there for weeks and I’d have been happy. Things ramp up madly in the last quarter or so  though, when breakneck speed is reached and it’s all going on. Carriger has absolutely everything covered.

I’m aware that I’m gushing….sorry about that…I don’t do it often. To try and balance things a little I found 2, count them…2 words in the whole of the novel that irritated me. The first one was “creamer”. Creamer?? Alexia referred to putting creamer in tea. This would never happen. I don’t know what the bloody hell creamer is, something them there ‘mericans use no doubt, but we Brits put milk in our tea. Nowt else. And the second was “Gee”. Gee? again…not something you’d hear..unless we’re chivvying along a horse. Both of them jarred a little as I was reading, but they were both very early on, and I’m a forgiving sort.

In short, I absolutely loved Soulless and can’t recommend it highly enough. If you have a love of language, and a sense of humour, you’ll adore Carriger. I promise.


5A PhoenixFantasy Five Star Read


[Soulless is published by Orbit and is available in paperback and electronic format]


Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Review: Soulless, Gail Carriger

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