January 1, 2010

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

by ~S

Okay, I admit it. . . I read a lot of what I'm affectionately calling Urban Roman-tasy (and what my family less affectionately calls Vampire Porn). There is a lot out there right now, and I've discovered that I'm becoming a little impervious to it. Oh, I still have authors I snap up (Ilona Andrews and Mark Del Franco for example) but there are some that are just boring me into playing DS before bed rather than reading. So, it was with hesitation that I picked up Soulless by Gail Carriger (okay, I actually got it for Christmas so I really had very little to do with the picking up part).

I wondered how bad Victorian-noir, urban fantasy could be. The answer was not bad at all. I read the darn book in three sittings, and it was a first novel (normally full of problems and pacing issues thereby causing me to read it while reading a more steadfast novel). I loved the main character Alexia Tarabotti. . . a big girl who loves food. . . how can you go wrong?? Additionally, there was my required banter, a fashion loving, gay vampire, and a prior introduction of the leads in an incident involving a hedgehog. I can hear you all thinking about walking away or going to Amazon to read more rational reviews, but don't quit reading before I gush a little about Carriger's history and inclusion of the preternatural. Not your average human and not connected to the werewolf/vampire community either but easily a necessary part of the overall dynamic. . . or so you will believe after reading Soulless. Part of me still wonders if Carriger developed the preternatural before she started the book or after she needed a fabulous way to bring the two leads to a hands-on meeting of the minds.

Now that I've pushed what I like about the book, I will admit there is a little first novel jitter obvious in the text. The author reminded me way too often that Alexia is half-Italian, has a large nose and a dusky complexion, and is a big girl. I understand those components played into Alexia's world view and social status--another large part of this novel--but I don't think I forgot that between say chapters 8 and 10 or even 8 and 12. That being said, it didn't slow down my reading or ruin my feelings about this book. I have happily added book 2, Changeless, to my list of must have books, and I am looking forward to March 2010.

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