Friday, October 14, 2011
My recent interest in steampunk continues with Gail Carriger's Soulless, the first book in her Parasol Protectorate.
My wife first discovered Ms Carriger at the 2010 Worldcon and ripped through her books (she had 3 out at the time). I'd been meaning to read them and when they were listed as a recommendation for people who liked Phoenix Rising - Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, I decided to try them out.
Alexia Tarabotti suffers from a few disadavantages in life. She's half Italian on her father's side, at the age of 26 she is still unmarried and she doesn't have a soul.
One night at a party she retires to the library to get something to eat (treacle tart), and encounters a vampire, who attempts to bite her, being preternatural (the term for one without a soul) she neutralises vampires and werewolves on contact, but it is rather bothersome and in despatching him he sat on the tart she had her heart and stomach set on.
Because Alexia kills the vampire there has to be an investigation and it appears that someone is creating rogue vampires. Alexia unwittingly becomes a part of a much bigger scheme and is thrown together with the dashing werewolf about town Lord Connal Maccon. This wouldn't be so bad, except Maccon is very attractive and also Scottish, so socially unacceptable to Alexia's pretentious family.
Soulless is what Jane Austen would have written if she'd included vampires and werewolves in her comedies of manners, and I think a great deal of inspiration was drawn from the popular Victorian writer.
Although there are currently 4 books in the Parasol Protectorate, with at least one more to come, Soulless has everything tied up in a neat bow with a happy ending. If you weren't minded to read on, you don't have to, although I had so much fun reading Soulless that I'll soon be picking up Changeless as well.