Audiobook Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Audiobook Review: Soulless by Gail CarrigerSoulless by Gail Carriger
Narrator: Emily Gray
Length: 10 hrs, 52 mins
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Published by Recorded Books on June 22, 2010
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Steampunk
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

Victorian romance mixes seamlessly with elegant prose and biting wit - and werewolves - in Gail Carriger's delightful debut novel. Soulless introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a parasol-wielding Londoner getting dangerously close to spinster status. But there are more important things than finding a husband. For Alexia was born without a soul, giving her the ability to render any vampire or werewolf completely powerless.

Soulless was the Audible Deal of the Day a couple months ago, and, since it was a book I’d been wanting to read, I immediately gave Amazon some more of my money. The reviews for Soulless by friends were very encouraging and the narrator is British, so why not, right? Good choice, past self! Soulless‘ audiobook was almost eleven hours of pure entertainment. What more can I possibly want than a badass spinster with an attack parasol, some cool mythology, and rampant sexy times? Not a whole lot more, honestly. I’m a happy consumer right now.

Alexia Tarabotti is fabulous. She’s not really physically strong, but she’s a beast in every other way. Her intellect is mighty and she’s stubborn like no one else in the world. She’s a spinster and totally okay with that status, but doesn’t see any reason why that should mean she’s not fashionable. Also, she’s a bit insecure, because her mom and stepsisters rag on her constantly about how unlovable her smartness, muleheadedness, and Italian looks make her. No matter how much natural sense of your self-worth you have, this sort of talk from your own family, who’s meant to love you, or your friends will just demolish your self-esteem. Basically, I felt a lot for this woman right out the gate. It also didn’t hurt that she was always searching for food, like in the opening scene where she goes to a party and it doesn’t have food so she orders some because really dancing and no food is unacceptable.

The one thing that really bothers Alexia isn’t her lack of marriage prospects or even her family that doesn’t understand her; it’s her lack of occupation. Yes, she’s a wealthy lady and lives a life of great privilege, but she’s bored. She has few intellectual equals in her social circle and certainly none in her family. She wants to do something. Preferably, Alexia would like a position in the organization that controls paranormals, but Lord Maccon absolutely refuses to hire a gentlelady. THE NERVE.

Right, so paranormal things. Soulless has fabbity fab paranormal mythology. There are vampires and werewolves, and they’re fairly standard, only in this world they have very strong ideas about fashion. A vampire or werewolf not properly attired will totally be mocked mercilessly by the other paranormal creatures, which is hilarious to me. Anyway, Alexia is herself not paranormal; she’s something more rare. Alexia is a preternatural, which means that she negates paranormal powers. When she touches a vampire, he/she becomes human again. This power was a totally new concept for me, and I thought it was awesome. Also, for all that Alexia’s the only one in the book with this power, it’s definitely not a super special snowflake chosen one thing. They’re rare, but not unheard of; her dad was one for example, which is how she came to be.

It will come as a shock to positively no one that my favorite part of the book was the romance. I mean, come on. The first thing to know is that, though it feels a bit instalovey, Alexia and Lord Maccon have known each other for ages before the book began. So basically they’ve been hate to loving slowly over the years and the reader pops in just in time for the good bits. After a long time without any ships that will freaking KISS ALREADY, Soulless was incredibly satisfying. I was not expecting how satisfying and just YES. Much kissing and it is all fabulous.

Aside from Alexia and Lord Maccon, the rest of the cast is suitably quirky. My personal favorites are Lyall and Floote. Lyall is a totally Giles-y type, only he’s the second in command in Maccon’s wolf pack. I’m really hoping he gets a ship of some sort in the course of the series. Floote is Alexia’s long-suffering but secretly rooting-her-on butler, and I enjoy how he pops in to offer looks of judgment or assistance to her shenanigans. There’s also a potentially adorbs ship for Alexia’s best friend Ivy Hisselpenny. Also, serious thanks to whoever put the characters on GR, because Gail Carriger’s spellings are seriously not conducive to guessing how to spell any damn name if you listened to the audiobook.

Fun as it was, there were some parts where the book dragged. Any time it was Maccon and Alexia, I was totally into it. During the action scenes (I’m including matches of wits in verbal confrontations in this), also very much entertained. However, there’s a section in the late middle where Alexia’s talking with her vampire friend Lord Akeldama which was way too long for my tastes and a bit let’s-recount-the-plot. The big confrontation also ends with quite a bit of book left and it meanders its way to a conclusion. That part was good , but again felt like it could have used a bit of trimming.

The audiobook added immensely to my enjoyment, as Emily Gray makes a fabulous Alexia. Her Scottish accent is a hoot as well. The only negative I really have to offer about this format is that the production is not seamless. As usual with Recorded Books, there are often weirdly long pauses or audible breaths or even some scratchiness in the audio quality, all which really should have been edited out.  However, I enjoy Gray’s performance so much that I’m definitely sticking with the audiobook.

Soulless by Gail Carriger is fluff of the finest order. The characters are such fun, the paranormal creatures creatively drawn, and the romance passionate. This is steampunk goodness and I will be reading more without a doubt. Actually, I purchased the second book in the series when I was about halfway done with Soulless, which ought to tell you something.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif parasol attack

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