You know how frequently when you pick up a fiction book, especially genre, especially the hot new genre, and you start reading, you find yourself thinking, “Hell, who do I have to blow to get a book contract?”
You will think nothing of the sort about Gail Carriger’s Soulless.
I borrowed the first book from the Headmistress of Gothic Charm School, because I was curious, but wasn’t sure I wanted to make the monetary or space investment in a book I wasn’t sure about. As I started reading, all I could think was, “Damn, I totally know why they gave her a book contract!” Carriger blew me away almost immediately. She writes well, descriptively without burdensome walls of text, her characters are engaging, they make sense within the world they inhabit. The dialogue is believable and flows well, it is stiff when the situation would require a stiff formality, and casual where it should be.
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster. The child of a proper English mother, and Italian father, her father died when she was young, and her mother remarried. Alexia is too Italian looking for the style of beauty favored in her world, English roses with peaches and cream complexions and heads full of fashion and fluff. She’s smart, sarcastic, and very capable of taking care of herself. She also has no soul, which makes her a danger and curiousity to London’s vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Carriger is brilliant at conveying Alexia’s personality, straining at the bonds of the rigidly polite society in which she has been raised.
I highly recommend Soulless to anyone interested in Victorian, Steampunky horror fiction.