Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soulless by Gail Carriger- beware mild spoilers ahead!

Here is finally the book that has brought me out of the urban fantasy stupor that I’ve been in. My beloved genre (and all it’s varied and colorful sub-genres) had made me slip into an ennui only heretofore seen from a Rake in a romance novel.

Soulless, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail
Carriger, has breathed new life in my flagging sails. Not only is this a delectably hilarious read, but the story is supremely presented. I found undercurrents and threads sewn throughout the novel that eventually brought fruit at the end of this book. Several reading must be undertaken to fully appreciate every carefully woven element. Even the smallest of Carrigers characters are never frivolous, everyone has their role to play in this book. I admire the author's vision of our protagonist Alexia Tarabotti she's smart, strong, powerful, flawed, and has a definite appetite. The best part about Alexia, for me anyway, is that she is all of these things, but she is still very much a vulnerable young woman. Her feelings are so natural and well expressed by the author and that all the while Alexia is felling discomfiture, mortification, fear, or has been extraordinarily offended, she always tries. She wants more than what life has dealt her and she truly puts herself out there. I love her for it.

It took me only a few pages to get acclimated to the cadence of the authors voice, and how she balanced the action, Victorian etiquette, and that delightful humor embedded in the fabric of the story. I admit to being overly cynical and making premature assumptions as to what would come next (you see, it's been a VERY long time since I've read a new author that has stepped outside of formula), but Gail Carriger proved me wrong at every turn! At first I worried that I'd run headlong into yet another female battle axe, the only difference being that this one was in Victorian dress instead of leather pants. A couple pages in, and that notion was dispelled completely. Then I thought to myself, (and here I must admit that this leap in illogic was due to the fact that I had just caught up on my Victoria Thompson Gaslight Mysteries where NOTHING happens in the way of advancing the relationship between the two main characters, but seeing as I am emotionally invested in them, I cannot stay away!) given the tantalizing chemistry and verbal sparring between Alexia and the uber delicious Lord Maccon, that we'd have to go many books into the series to get anywhere with them. I was wrong, so absolutely fantastically wrong.

Still, I was stubborn
to have not learned my lesson. I was nearing the end of the book, trying to magically make the book longer by conjuring up new pages from thin air, when I bitterly figured the book would end with the climax of the story and maybe a page of wrap up ( you know this happens much too often!). I vow never to assume I know my ass from my elbow ever again when next I read a Gail Carriger novel. There is plenty of meat here people, I strongly advise you to dig in! I have just one last point to make, and one that is a cause very dear to me. Werewolves. I LOVE werewolves, if done properly they can be such powerful and sexy creatures. Unfortunately all too often they are second class to vampires, and I grow weary of this. Rare is the author with the imagination that takes them down the path less traveled.

But here in the world of the Parasol Protectorate, we have a sincerely excellent mythology of supernaturals. I am fervently excited to explore not just
Conall Maccon's back story (because it is scintillating intriguing), and Alexia's father is another mysterious figure in the background. Let us not ignore Professor Lyall or Lord Akeldama. And what of the dewan and the potentate, and that silver haired gentleman, we've yet to meet these creatures. There's much in this world to explore!

I look forward to digging into Changeless, Book 2 in the Parasol Protectorate Series due out March 10, 2010, and the yet unpublished short story about Alexia's father Carriger has talked about on her blog.

RATING: A Fan For Life!


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