Alexia might be from a good family and have a lot of smarts, but she’s also old – over 20! – and still unmarried, half Italian and she doesn’t have a soul, though that last part isn’t widely known. Not having a soul has the advantage of neutralizing the powers of vampires and werewolves she touches, which means that when a vampire attacks her, it’s a rather ineffective attack that leads to Alexia accidentally slaying said vampire – which puts her right into a bigger plot, as well as under the stern gaze of Lord Maccon, alpha werewolf and head of the BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry). Said gaze might be the most dangerous thing for Alexia, as she tries to understand what she stumbled into, all with the help of flamboyant Lord Akeldama (vampire), the moral support of her best friend Ivy (human and very unaware of Alexia’s state) and the advice of Professor Lyall (beta werewolf).
Soulless is an engaging book, that pulls you right in and sweeps you along. It’s fun and entertaining to read, even if there were a few things that didn’t work so well for me.
I know that in a novel featuring vampires and werewolves I probably shouldn’t complain about historical inaccuracy, even if it is set in Victorian times. And I’m not even a big history buff! But still I was bothered by a couple of things, in particular regarding the language that was often much too modern. It is not impossible that I have a wrong impression of Victorian English, but, for example, Alexia referring to Maccon as her goodies really threw me.
That bothered me a little bit, but mostly it was just distracting. What actually bothered me was Alexia’s arrogance, especially when it comes to the other women in the book. She sees nothing of value in her sisters and mother because they like shopping and aren’t thinkers like Alexia. Alexia likes Ivy at least, even though she doesn’t quite manage not to ridicule her. I would have liked a little more solidarity here.
Other than that, I rather liked Alexia – she is a refreshing, fun character. Though I did like Ivy and Lyall even better – and I was a little disappointed, actually, that they didn’t hit it off together (puzzledpeaces, who I borrowed the book from and who read the entire series already, informs me that Lyall is gay – but I don’t think that was mentioned the first book. Or else I missed it, but since Carriger is not the most subtle of writers and I’m a rather focused reader, I doubt that). Maccon and Akeldama were fine, though both very stereotypical and I don’t know if I should find that offensive and tiring (especially in Akeldama’s case) or if I should chalk it off to satire.
The plot isn’t too complicated but it is entertaining. Actually, that sums up the entire book pretty well. I’ll be reading more whenever I need light entertainment.