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Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) - Gail Carriger Soulless was not what I expected. Not in a bad way, not in a good way, just in an "oh" way. I expected something like Young Miss Marple vs. The Vampires, for whatever reason. I haven't even read much Miss Marple -- those were my least favorite Christies -- but I guess spinster + England, past tense + mystery-type plot = Miss Marple in my head.

So Carriger's written this thing that I thought was Miss Marple-y but is actually a steampunk/supernatural/romantic mystery with a sense of humor. It drove me nuts in some ways, and I don't appreciate octopus door handles or dirigibles (SO MANY DIRIGIBLES) enough to be into the steampunk accents, but Soulless was an okay way to pass a handful of hours. Alexia Tarabotti is a preternatural, a designation that reflects her lack of a soul, while in the Soulless 'verse, vampires and werewolves can only be created from individuals who have TOO MUCH soul. Alexia's "condition" enables her to revert supernaturals back to their human state by touching them. She's friends/on speaking terms with members of both supernatural parties, and becomes involved in an investigation of strange vampire happenings after accidentally killing a vampire who was looking for a snack.

I highlighted a bunch of stuff that bugged me but synced my Kindle accidentally and lost my notes, since it was a library loan. I remember hating that every other woman in the book is stupid or horrible -- even Alexia's BFF is dismissed as a dip, BY ALEXIA, who views wanting her only female friend's advice as evidence that she's hit her last resort. There's a gay vampire who speaks in half-italics, every other word lambie or plum blossom or your or perhaps and I started to skip over his dialogue by the end, because it was so annoying. I couldn't stand how Carriger switched between referring to her heroine as "Alexia" and "Miss Tarabotti" frequently within the text, often within the space of a few sentences. And there are some phrases included that just don't WORK in the setting of Soulless: "She is trying to make a funny," I'm rolling my eyes at you.

But wait, there are good things, too! Alexia is a strong heroine and makes mostly smart choices. I enjoyed the novelty of reading something I don't normally read, although it did reinforce my dislike of romances. There are a few funny moments tucked into the book. I am a sucker for new twists on vampire lore, even if this twist is questionable -- I'm not sure whether it's supposed to be taken as fact by the reader or be squiffy "science."

Not a KILL IT WITH FIRE book, but not something I'll revisit, and I'm not really interested in reading the sequels. Too many dirigibles for me.

(two-and-a-half stars)

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