Soulless: Neck-nibbling tongue-in-cheek paranormal romance

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Soulless by Gail Carriger

fantasy book reviews Gail Carriger The Parasol Protectorate 1. SoullessImagine what would happen if P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen got together and wrote an urban fantasy novel. Gail Carriger did (that’s how she describes this novel) and the result is a delightfully amusing paranormal romance. Soulless is the story of Alexia Tarabotti, who has the social misfortune of being a spinster with a dead Italian father; not having a soul is just an additional burden to bear. Then she gets attacked by an ill-mannered vampire. That’s when Lord Maccon gets involved. He’s the Queen’s officer in charge of investigating the paranormal, and just happens to be a werewolf. And gorgeous.

I giggled through almost the entire book. From the first few pages, it is obvious that Soulless was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. While the story may not break new ground when it comes to Regency romance novels, the inclusion of the paranormal, which is thoroughly and convincingly a part of the history of the British Empire in this alternate world, is exceptionally well done. The different cultures of both vampire and werewolf society are well-imagined and have interesting implications for how the two cultures interact with each other and human society.

Soulless is an entertaining novel. It is definitely a romance novel (and I got tired of having Lord Maccon “nibble” on Alexia’s neck — really, can you imagine a huge werewolf nibbling?) but the paranormal elements are also central to the story. I recommend Soulless as a fun read for anyone who wants their romance served up with an otherworldly flavor and a large helping of humor.

~Ruth Arnell


fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThis is a fun silly story that feels like one of those highlander romances set in Victorian England. Some sort of melding of Karen Marie Moning and Jane Austen, if I’m even allowed to say such a thing. It is definitely a romance and it definitely requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, but it will hit certain readers just right. This is Carriger’s debut and not as smoothly written as her later YA series, FINISHING SCHOOL, but still worthy of attention.

~Kat Hooper


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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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