My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this book up after talking with the lovely and engaging Gail Carriger for the SF Signal podcast. Karen Burnham, blogger for SF Signal, for her own site http://spiralgalaxyreviews.blogspot.com/ and Editor of the Locus Magazine RoundTable Blog (http://www.locusmag.com/Roundtable/), had read Soulless and the sequels, and was a fan. Between the conversation with Gail and Karen’s enthusiasm for the series, I decided to pick up the first book and give it a try.
I’m glad I did.
If you are looking for a light steampunk novel – that is to say, a novel with steampunk elements that doesn’t bombard you with what I would normally call ‘technobabble’ (I guess in this case it would be ‘steambabble’?) – then this is the book for you.
Set in Victorian London, you have elements of steampunk, romance, mystery, urban fantasy and comedy, all blended brilliantly by Gail. Alexia Tarabotti is a fantastic character and a strong female protagonist. She’s painted by her family as a spinster, nearly worthless in their minds, far too old to have any marriage prospects (the only future any woman can hope for) and quite odd compared to the rest of them. (She reads BOOKS, for Godsake.) Little do they realize just how attractive she is to someone like Conall Maccon, a Scottish Lord and current Alpha of the local, London Werewolf population. He is also the head of BUR, the British Government’s organization overseeing the supernatural community.
When lone vampires and werewolves start going missing, and someone attempts to kidnap Alexia, BUR is on the cast – but so is Alexia, who is not entirely helpless. After all, she is a Preternatural, a soulless, and her ability is to cancel out the supernatural with a single touch…
Check it out, people – it’s a great ride.