Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger

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Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A delicious and razor-sharp, witty tale of werewolves and vampires in Victorian times. The heroine, Alexia Tarabotti is a force to be reckoned with and she doesn't suffer fools gladly
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841499727

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Miss Tarabotti fairly bounces (in a ladylike fashion, of course) onto the page. Her forthright character is refreshingly at odds with the rather snivelling wallflowers of the era. I just knew that Alexia was going to be bags of fun - and she was. She did not disappoint.

This is a genre I do not normally choose to read so I was open-minded. The front cover is wickedly arresting and sums up the contents beautifully. I kind of expected a bit of a treat owing to the author's original short biography on the back cover. Intriguing. It made me keen to start reading ...

Alexia is one feisty young woman who does not mince her words. She'd no doubt call a spade a spade - and a vampire, well, a vampire. Carriger's writing is a joy. It's full of lovely descriptions and sharp dialogue. I must admit I don't think I've read a book quite like this in a long time and I like to think I have pretty eclectic tastes.

We first meet the bold Alexia at a social gathering. All frills and lace and Victorian manners. Apt one-liners fly all over the pages such as Natural, daylight persons were kept in the dark, so to speak, but any vampire worth his blood should know a preternatural's touch. And sentences of that ilk. I was impressed that Carriger could keep up the imaginative lines throughout the whole book. Hard work, I would have thought.

We learn that Alexia is neither a vampire nor a werewolf. So what exactly is she? She also seems to have some interesting - powers, for want of a better word. But her whole childhood history is given to the reader in full right at the beginning of the novel.

Alexia seems to keep bumping into a rather attractive man. Lord Maccon. He's not all he seems to be either. Their obvious mutual attraction (while Alexia ferociously denies it) is great fun to read. The language is of the period and adds to the sense of fun.

Carriger ramps it up to uproarious proportions when talking about Victorian etiquette for ladies. By this time I've got the measure of Alexia. She would literally snort at this silly social piece of etiquette and do her own thing, regardless. The whole fantastic vampire-werewolf scenario just adds another element to what is, in essence, a comedy of Victorian manners and courtship. In parts, it could quite easily transfer to the stage. The language throughout is creatively ridiculous in the best possible taste - and it works. Full moons, copious amounts of blood etc are all thrown into the mix.

Another great section is when Carriger describes the friendship between Alexia and the rather wan Miss Ivy Hisselpenny. For example, Ivy had learned to find Alexia's bluntness entertaining ... All terrific stuff. And the relationship Alexia has with her silly mother and giggly sisters is also a lovely piece of writing. All-in-all, the witty writing in a Victorian setting sings on the page and makes this novel highly entertaining indeed. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this appeals then you might like to try Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson.

Buy Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger at

Buy Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Soulless: The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger at


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