When I was ordering paperbacks a months ago, I immediately added Soulless by Gail Carriger to my cart, because I knew from its description alone that it would be completely awesome. And of course, I was right. Soulless is utterly charming. I am charmed. If it didn't have multiple holds on it, I would keep it to read again instead of releasing it back into the library system. However, I am generally kind and don't want to prevent other patrons from enjoying it. I am, however, considering buying my own copies and forcing them on various friends, if this review doesn't immediately make them want to read the book. Which it should, because I have impeccable taste.
Alexia Tarabotti is regrettably (in the eyes of her family and the London ton) a half-Italian spinster who combines bluestocking tendencies with the unnerving habit of speaking her mind. She is also lacking a soul, a fact known only to those in the supernatural community, including the ill-mannered (but strangely appealing) Lord Maccon, alpha werewolf and head of the government's Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR). Being soulless, or preturnatural, grants her the ability to negate other supernatural powers. After an unfortunate incident that ends in the staking (with the help of her wooden hair stick and trusty weighted parasol) of an unregistered vampire, Alexia and Lord Maccon's paths cross and re-cross as the BUR attempts to get to the bottom of a series of disappearances in the supernatural community. Populated by endearing secondary characters, plenty of electricity between the leads, a fully-realized and enchanting alt-Victorian London, and abundant descriptions of couture, comestibles, and steampunk gadgetry, Soulless is a feast for the senses and, so far, my favorite book of 2009.
Grade: A (obviously)
This was much more like a romance novel than I initially thought it would be. For me, this was excellent, as I love a good romance--however, anyone looking for hard urban fantasy should be prepared more for an Amanda-Quick-ish supernatural.
I was reading this book while walking around the house carrying a fretful baby. Carriger's turns of phrase often made me grin like a madwoman. I can't wait for the sequel to come out, and you can bet that I'll be ordering it for the library.
I don't generally ever choose the werewolf in any situation where such a choice is possible. For example, Edward beats Jacob (although--what a choice . . .), and for me Jean-Claude is always preferable to Richard. However, suddenly Lord Maccon has appeared and provided some weight to tip the scales toward the furry side. Here is a werewolf whom one could embrace wholeheartedly, if one were of an appropriately soulless state. Not to say that I wouldn't embrace Lord Akeldama--he is adorable, and one of the few fully realized gay characters who (spoiler alert) does not get killed that I can remember existing. I just adore his army of foppish, yet secretly capable, minions.
The author's website.