Review: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

PrintTitle: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Published: January 1st 2009 by Orbit
Genres: Fantasy, Steam punk, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

You can click on the cover to go to its Goodreads page.

Synopsis: 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, breaking 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 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?


I haven’t really decided on my opinion of this book. I don’t know whether I enjoyed it enough to give it 3.5 stars or 3. I definitely liked reading the story and laughed out loud a few times. But there were things that I didn’t like as much, and I can’t say that I feel really connected to the main character.

On the one hand I found the storyline fascinating. I wanted to solve the mystery of the disappearing vampires and werewolves. I think the main reason for my disconnect with the story is the way it was written. The author made a wonderful story, I’m not denying that, but I couldn’t really connect to the way the main character talked or thought. I know this is historical fiction and that people indeed spoke differently in the previous centuries but I don’t know, it just didn’t really love it. For example, the main character is called a spinster, which is mentioned several times in the book. But then you find out that she is 26 years old. What? I guess in those times it must indeed have been strange to be 26 and not married but it made me feel like I had to change my image of the main character several times during the book. It confused me so much. I couldn’t really form a good picture of Alexia or Lord Maccon in my mind, and for me -being a visual person- that made it harder to connect with it.

Something else I didn’t quite get is Alexia. Being soulless, she is very different than anyone else and I understand that. Sometimes though, it sounded like Alexia didn’t really have any feelings at all thank to being soulless while at other times you can clearly see that she is fond of and cares for certain people. Also, the way she grew up -and what people have been telling her about her appearances and so on- I feel bad for her. It must be so harsh to hear everyday that your family doesn’t think you’re pretty.

A character I liked a great deal however, was Lord Maccon. You didn’t really get much of a back story except that he came to London and won the fight to become the alpha of the werewolf pack. He seemed a lot easier for me to understand than I did Alexia, and his thoughts and perspectives often made me laugh. I think the romance story in the book is a bit weird, but still quite fascinating. His right-hand I adored as well. I believe his name was Lyall. He was funny and often made fun of the alpha by showing him how little he knows about human women.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the story. I was curious to find out why vampires and werewolves were disappearing, who was doing it and who was trying to kidnap Alexia. I also liked following the “romance” and seeing it develop but I did have some disconnections with the story. I didn’t particularly grow attached to any characters and the writing style didn’t really speak to me either. However, I think that I probably will read the next book one day -although with a TBR as huge as mine, who knows when that will be?

Review: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

5 thoughts on “Review: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

  1. The way you felt about this at the end – “I think that I probably will read the next book one day -although with a TBR as huge as mine, who knows when that will be?” – that’s the way I sort of feel about this series. I remember reading this book and laughing out loud at it. I really enjoyed it! But for some reason, I just didn’t sit down and read the others, or I haven’t yet. I really do plan to but there are always some books that I REALLY REALLY want to read that call to me first. One day.


    1. YES. I always say that: maybe I wil read it someday. But the truth is that there are many books that I am much more excited to read and so I don’t want to lose time in which I could be reading those… But who knows? Maybe we will actually get around to it one day!


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