Cover design: Lauren Panepinto
Cover photograph: Derek Caballero
Cover model: Donna Ricci
THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE: BOOK THE FIRST
Publishing Date: 1 October 2009
On the cover:
ALEXIA TARABOTTI IS LABORING UNDER A GREAT MANY SOCIAL TRIBULATIONS.First, she has no soul. Second. she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, braking all standards of social etiquette.Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire-and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf ) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Before you start reading this book you might want to make sure you have adequate supplies of tea in the house. And maybe something to snack on, cucumber sandwiches will be fine, in case you start feeling a bit peckish.
Soulless is set in an alternate Victorian England, or London to be more precise, where vampires and werewolves are real. And miss Carriger manages to make the supernatural element come to life in a way that makes her world as believable as any other alternate history I have read. There's nothing that seems out of place here, the world is fully realised and certainly feels like historical fiction in a world where the supernatural is real.
Alexia Tarabotti is a very well realised heroine, she's smart, independent and also believable. It's good to see a female character that can be both a lady and a action heroine. I think most women can identify with her to some degree, and she is certainly a good role-model for girls. Even when Alexia gets involved in romance it happens in a way that seems natural, and is not at all overly romantic or soppy.
The werewolves and vampires in this book are a natural part of the Victorian world. They are not put there just to put a paranormal spin on the story, but are an integral part of the whole. And I must say I liked how miss Carriger handles them. There's a really interesting spin on some of the vampires in Soulless, but I'll leave you to discover what that is for yourselves.
The action and suspense in this book is expertly handled by miss Carriger, both work excellent and keep the pages turning. But what stands out most about the book is how much fun it is. Reading Soulless is the most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. I smiled through most of the book and laughed out loud several times, something I rarely do.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It has good suspense and action, and is hilarious. There's vampires and werewolves, romance and Victoriana. So if any of these elements interest you, or you just have a sense of humour, this is one book I advise you to pick up. I also really enjoyed miss Carriger's writing, it suited the story perfectly. This is my most enjoyable read so far this year, so there's no reason not to go out and buy it.
I have already read Changeless -The Parasol Protectorate: Book the Second, and will review it here soon.
LINKS: Gail Carriger Orbit