Soulless—book one of The Parasol Protectorate
by Gail Carriger
In a steampunk world where Vampires and Werewolves are integrated into London society, Alexia Tarabotti is still considered unmarriageable. Being a bluestocking, half-Italian, and a spinster are only part of her problems—unbeknownst to her family, she was also born without a soul and can null the abilities of supernaturals. When attacked by an ill-mannered Vampire at a ball, she’s forced to work with the sexy Werewolf Lord Maccon. The two of them can’t stand each other, but they need each other’s help to figure out exactly what’s gotten into London society.
Carriger’s vibrant steampunk world is filled with Victorian wit and humor and her very proper parasol-wielding heroine leads us on a jolly romp that makes for a delightfully entertaining—and funny—read. The steampunk elements are fairly subtle until the end, but Alexia’s parasol is classic. The secondary characters in the story add a lot of color, especially the eccentric Vampire Lord Akeldama and Alexia’s best friend Ivy, who has terrible taste in hats. The book has some terrific one-liners, such as “a vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age.”
The cover is beautiful, but it’s very close to the photo of a dress I absolutely love over at Clockwork Couture. I’m not sure which came first, but I really covet that top hat! (Seriously, will someone please tell me where I can buy one like that?)
I found on the Soulless webpage over at Orbit Books that they have Alexia paper dolls, and its quite entertaining to play dress up with the bustles, hats, teacups, and, of course, parasols.
I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and to see what mischief Alexia gets into–especially since airships seem to be part of book two.