Miss Alexia Tarabotti is much like any gentlewoman of good standing. She has an unfortunate nose and a tan complection to match, both received from her Italian father. She also inherited a large collection of somewhat scandalous books and a condition that makes her preternatural. In a world where an overabundance of soul is thought to cause some people to turn into a vampire or a werewolf, Alexia was born entirely without. Her merest touch will also cause a supernatural person to turn into a human temporarily. This is well known in the supernatural set so when a vampire attacks her during a ball when she has retreated to the library to have some tea, it causes quite the stir in London society. Not of course among the daylight humans who only hear that someone died. Soon miss Tarabotti finds herself the object of much attention, wanted and unwanted, as she uncovers the truth behind the offending vampire.
This book is not a literary masterpiece. I found the omniscient narrator very jarring at times. I never read romance because every time I do, I hate the heroine because she’s a silly little girl without an ounce of spine. And yet none of that mattered when it comes to this book; I literally could not put it down. My husband literally dragged it from my hands somewhere around 2 A.M. because he couldn’t sleep with the lights on. What miss Carriger may be missing in the technical aspects, she more than makes up for in a character that manages to be likeable and a story that actually moves forward. This wasn’t a book that made me want to start it again. I’ll freely admit that it’s a guilty pleasure but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pleasure none the less. Not to mention the fact that immediately after finishing this book, I went online and ordered all the rest in the series. By the way, remember the time before you could just pop online and order stuff? How long ago that seems now. I feel very old when I think about it.
But I’m digressing. Soulless is basically a fun romp through Victorian England. There is a remarkable parasole that is a virtual side character but we never learn WHY it is so remarkable. Maybe in the next books…
SPOILER WARNING! I do have one big complaint; the dragging out of the mad scientist-trope. I wish just once I could see a book where the scientist doesn’t turn out to be the villain. I mean there’s no other profession that has accomplished as much for human wellbeing as scientists have, but somehow they always end up the villain. Although rumour has it that Gail Carriger in her real life is herself a scientist so I guess one can permit her for it.