Soulless by Gail Carriger
Rating: ★★★★★I have waited entirely too long to write this review and gotten too deeply involved in the world of Ken Follett's World Without End, so this review is going to suck a little. Which is a pity because I had thought of all kinds of witty things I was going to write and now I've lost them.
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is soulless. When she touches supernatural beings, she neutralizes their abilities and they become human for a moment. That could be useful to the Bureau of Unnatural Registry if she weren't a lady of good breeding. She refuses to be treated as a wilting lily and goes about, wielding her tricked-out parasol and assisting in any way she can, as new vampires who appear to be entirely clueless about supernatural laws go about wreaking havoc on society.
I loved the chemistry between Alexia and Lord Maccon from the moment he threatens to bring her out of a faint with something stronger than smelling salts. He's an Alpha werewolf, but Alexia has enough alpha personality to hold her own against him. Their subtle yet pointed verbal sparring made this book for me. And can you say steamy? It wasn't too graphic, but oh my gosh. *Fanning*
Alexia herself was a fantastic character. At twenty-six, she's firmly on the shelf in Victorian society, but she's okay with that. Better to be on the shelf than married to some half-wit who can't keep up with her own intellect and curiosity. She gets enough of that from her family. They don't know she's soulless and put all of her quirks down to the fact that her father was Italian. But they've left her just a little insecure about her appearance and desirability. Just enough to make her feel real.
And Lord Maccon. Yum. That's all there is to say about him. But you know I can't leave it at that. Sexy, Alpha, protective, strong, and with a Scottish burr, who can resist him? I kept having an internal battle over his name. There's a Macon County near where I live and Lord Maccon kept sounding like bacon. As a carnivore, I'm sure he wouldn't object, but it kept distracting me.
I liked the way that some curious turns in history can be put down to supernatural intervention. I won't give anything away, and it was only a very small part of the book, but it amused me.
I really liked the cover until I read the book. I kept picturing Alexia as Nia Vardalos and that bony female on the cover just didn't cut it anymore.
I don't think I've read any steampunk before, but if this book is at all indicative of the genre, I am hooked. I'll be actively searching out more of this kind of thing as I eagerly await the sequel, Changeless.
Honestly, if you think that the only way The Pink Carnation series could be improved is by throwing in some supernatural beings, you will love this. If you don't know what I'm talking about but you would like a new take on the whole vampire thing, you'll probably like it too. It was just a hugely fun novel that I read with a smile on my face.