Soulless is the first book of the five-book series - The Parasol Protectorate. Gail Carriger’s world is set in an alternative Victorian England and is filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and preternaturals, but it is so much more than a now common-place paranormal-romance. This book takes you on adventure along with Alexia Tarabotti – the heroine of the story – who never looses herself even when falling in love with an impossible werewolf who is an alpha of his pack and an earl to boot. As a spinster, at age 26, Alexia has the freedom that other ladies of her time might not have had, which lets her wander in the middle of the most interesting situations that help lead the story along. Lucky for Alexia, her wit, friendship with a rove vampire, and passion for science and knowledge that make her a bluestocking make for a strong character. The romance with the always-present Lord Maccon starts to blossom, almost to Alexia’s surprise, but not before they are both fighting to save their lives and those of their friends from the evil-minded scientists of the Hypocras Club. The Queen of England also makes an appearance to assure the wedding of our two heroes just in time for a romantic book #1 ending, and an offer of a new job for Alexia and her continued adventures.
I was a bit cautious when I started the book – it is not my typical reading. But this steampunk paranormal-romance meets a mystery-story captured my attention. I enjoyed Alexia’s character very much, and I’ve gained even more respect for her because she never gave up her strong-minded character, and didn’t need the “saving”. She was self fulfilled which is refreshing. Lord Maccon was very much the alpha male we all come to expect and love, but that didn’t make his character annoying – he was charming and a good match for our heroine. The supporting cast of Lord Akeldama, Miss Ivy Hisselpenny, and of course the pack’s long-time suffering beta – Professor Layll are all very fitting and endearing. Besides the characters, the world imagined by Gail Carriger with all its manners, tea-drinking and those ever-present hats is deliciously interesting and entertaining.
I found this book to be fun, sexy, and a pleasurable read, and look forward to the continued adventures of our heroine and her friends.