Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vampires, Werewolves, and British Blend

Soulless: an Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

New from Orbit (a Hachette imprint) last October, Soulless follows spinster (at age 26) Alexia Tarabotti in late 1890's London. Now, I was lead to believe by various reviews that this was a YA book. According to the publisher that is untrue. However it is a paranormal romance as promised so I am going to say that this is approved for the older young adult. Miss Tarabotti has no soul, and due to that condition she can make any supernatural being mortal while she touches him or her. After being viciously attacked by a vampire at a party (which is simply not done, vampires must find willing victims), Miss Tarabotti has no choice but to kill the young vampire (which is also simple not done, vampires are protected under the law). Queen Victoria has her own agency, BUR, in place to deal with rogue supernaturals and Alexia has just become entangled in a very dangerous plot. Add in a very handsome, although altogether too bossy, alpha werewolf and a plot to kidnap (or worse) Alexia and you have a the making of a truly great alternative history with some romance and of course supernatural elements thrown in.

Let me again be clear this is not for the young, young adult reader. Although Alexia is never "compromised" before marriage...well...you get the idea. With that said, I love this book! The characters are very colorful and you have a sense from the detailed writing that you know them right away. The author does admit to watching numerous BBC costume dramas, as have I, so I might be a bit more in tune with this style of writing but I think that is diminishing Gail Carriger's talent. Alexia is a heroine every woman can understand, self confident, intelligent, outspoken, and a little insecure about her appearance thanks to years of society holding up a false standard of beauty. Our hero, werewolf, Lord Maccon is a Scottish earl who holds a very high place in society and cannot help but argue with Alexia at every turn. The cast of supporting characters are more than just likable and I feel that everyone has at least one friend that fits into their mold. Not to say that they are cliche or static just that the overarching personality traits are recognizable. I realize that I am gushing in praise of this book, but I cannot help myself. Go read it, it is a fun read with a very different take on the idea of vampires and werewolves and how they fit into society.

1 comment:

  1. hey Ruth,
    Is Soulless a part of a series? I'm thinking about picking it up just to get a different take on vampires and werewolves since I have read The Twilight series already. Do you have any other fantasy recommendations in that same category? Not too young but not too old either?

    Thanks!!

    Sally

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