Firstly, Alexia Tarabotti has no soul. Secondly, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Thirdly, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible.
Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
©2009 Tofa Borregaard (P)2010 Recorded Books LLC
This book has taught me a lot - that there is a sub-genre called steampunk, several new words, and last but not least that there are still books that manage to bring on a new angle on the whole vampire and werewolf-hype.
The book's main character is Alexia Tarabotti, a person without soul, a so-called preternatural. In perfect logical conclusion, she cancels out the supernatural abilites of vampires and werewolves. She is a spinster, an intelligent, italian-looking spinster with decidedly strong opinions. When she keeps bumping into gruff werewolf-pack-leader, Lord Maccon, they discover that they feel a growing mutual attraction - despite the infamous hedgehog incident! But supernaturals keep disappearing, and what is going on behind the doors of the new Hypocras club?
Set in a slightly different version of Victorian England (with a lot more steam, and maybe even more etiquette), the characters move according to social rules, but they manage to finagle (see?! new word!) everything just as they wish it.
Apart from flawless story-development, likable characters and logical inner workings the book greatly benefits from the truly outstanding vocabulary, the witty dialogues and the prospect of books two, three and four.
The narrator keeps the characters distinguishable and manages to convey the properness of the British stiff upper lip.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
“Soulless” did not live down to its title. It is, in fact, a book that demonstrates remarkable spirit and significant amounts of pluck under pressure.
Set in an alternative Victorian London, in which vampires and werewolves have been Establishment figures for centuries, dirigibles fill the sky and respectable young ladies do not move about town without a chaperon, “Soulless” tells of the trials and tribulations that befall the remarkable Miss Alexia Tarabotti after she unintentionally kills an impertinent vampire with the aid of a hair stick and a parasol.
Miss Tarabotti is remarkable not because of the stain of having had an Italian father from whom she has inherited unfashionably tanned skin and an over-proud nose, nor because, at twenty-seven she is still a spinster, nor even because of a regrettable tendency to read science and ask inconvenient questions, but rather because she was born without a soul. Being soulless gives her the ability to neutralize the powers of supernatural beings, cancelling out the over-abundance of soul that is believed to explain their existence.
“Soulless” is witty, fast-paced, and complex: It is delivered with a deftness of touch that keeps it from plummeting into the horrors of pastiche. It is far from simple to create a Victorian feel to a book while introducing supernatural beings and an alternative political history but Gail Carriger does it with an ease of execution and flair for linguistic nuance which enables me almost completely to overlook the misfortune of her having been born in America. This is, after all, not her fault.
“Soulless” provided me with a splendid diversion from its first page to its last. It was aided in this by skillful and playful narration by Emily Gray, who mastered not only the rhythm of the language and the pace of the humour but the wide variety of voices and accents that the book calls for.
If you feel the need, or simply are privileged enough to have the opportunity, to spend a few hours away from the cares and traumas of the early twenty-first century, then this reader recommends an excursion into a supernatural Victorian London in the company of Miss Alexia Tarabotti.
Going to be one listen to again and again.
Alexia and Connell's first kiss.
All of it.
Made me laugh over and over again.
What a wonderful book, impeccably narrated. Miss Tarabotti is perfect; intelligent, resourceful and refreshingly curvaceous and flawed. Lord Maccon is as sexy as you would expect a werewolf to be. Fabulous minor characters too.
Say something about yourself!
I read and loved the books, listening to the series as audio books is just as enjoyable, however, I find the mispronunciation of some words really jarring.
If you are English or live in the UK you will probably agree, words like Ton and Aluminium have a different pronunciation here.
I also did not like that the name of Lord Akeldama was pronounced very differently than in the Finishing School series.
Nevertheless, I will buy the other audio books as well, I very much enjoy listening to them, and recommend them wholeheartedly.
I enjoyed this a lot but would recommend NOT listening to it with your 13 year old son on a long car journey. I fear he may never stop blushing.
I would recommend this book and indeed this series to anyone who enjoys, as I do, comedy, romance, adventure and what is misleadingly called "steampunk." There is nothing "punky" about it at all. There are airships, vampires, werewolves, brass contraptions and some eminently murderable characters who remind one of what one thinks Jane Austen must have written (I have to say that because to my shame I have never read her).
I enjoyed the plot and the delightful wit of the writing.
Ms Gray copes very well with a difficult problem. The book is written by an American, and, while there is apparently a Britified edition, presumably with all the "gotten"'s and so on removed, the audiobook is recorded from the American edition, and yet must be read in an English accent. Thus we have a Scottish aristocrat, at one point in the series, being made to say "Gee, thanks." Ms Gray manages to carry this off very well, and also "does the voices," which is always a plus.
Ideally, I would listen to any book I enjoyed in one sitting. Sadly this is rarely possible.
I have some slight cavils with the mechanics of "soul" as explained in the earlier books, but these may yet be resolved; I have not got to book five yet. Overall, though, a most entertaining read, and I am looking forward to further stories from Ms Carriger.
I write short stories and love reading. I can't stand poor grammar though. I like most types of books but I don't like erotica or romance.
As I said in the headline. Don't be put off by the vampires and werewolves theme. This book is totally off the wall hilarious. A send-up of something Jane Austen might have written. if you're a fan of spoof horror then you'll love this. The reader is excellent and the story while predictable in some ways is nevertheless fun to read. However if you like period drama and aren't in to comedy send-ups then you might not like this book. I did thogh.
Refreshing and entertaining provoking lots of laughter.
The only way for a misfit to fit is to shape their own lives.
Emily brings out the characters and changes of moods, painting pictures with the voice as well as words.
It made me laugh and lifted a smile to my face.
I've Listened to it twice enjoying it just as much the second time round.
Absolutely. The narrator captures Gail Carriger's slightly oddball characters perfectly and makes each one come to life with different voices and accents.
The world building. I love the world of The Parasol Protectorate and am an avid reader of the series. Gail Carriger creates a unique blend of adventure, humor and suspense as well as loveable and intriguing characters.
Lord Conall Maccon. He's my favorite in the books and she bought him perfectly to life. And of course Alexia.
If I could, absolutely.
Buy the books as well and I highly recommend the YA series thats set before this series.
"Not for me"
I was pretty excited about listening to this book. I had the series listed on goodreads for ages to read. My excitement was short lived however, I really couldn't get into the story line. I hated the way the main character is described and she had no personality to me. I also really hated the narration, I actually feel bad writing this but the voice was like nails on a chalkboard. All in all this was not for me.
"Fabulous fun from start to finish!"
One of my absolute favourite!
Very few books are as quirky and different as this one. The adventures of Amelia Peabody are in a similar style but without the fantasy.
Emily Gray does a great job of creating unique voices for the characters so when listening its so much easier and interesting... I particularly love Conall's voice.
Most of the book moved me to laughter, fantastic humour!
Read it, read the rest of the series, read all books by Gail Carriger
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