Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless.

Ok- getting a 3 for 1 deal here folks!
This is a steampunk, paranormal series by Gail Carriger and I am a pretty huge fan. So, gonna do quickie reviews of all three. And, Blameless is the first book of the new year! I have a new goal to read 52 books this year (so 1 per week) and Blameless is numero uno! I will, however, review them in order.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" meets Jane Austen in this wickedly funny debut novel, which kicks off Carriger's new series set in an alternate 19th-century London that not only knows about vampires and werewolves, but accepts them into the upper tiers of society. Original.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?
SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking. 

Soulless is yet another recommendation from my college roomie Liz. And I LOVED it. Alexia is an amazing protagonist. She is sassy, witty, and slightly scandalous. Conall is a wonderful, rough-around-the-edges, sexy beast (quite literally). There is a lot of I-think-I-hate-you-but-I-really-love-you banter that happens between the two as they are pursued and caught by evil scientists. It had me on the edge of my seat and I ate up every page! I love the characters; Professor Lyall, Ivy, Alexia's family and Lord Akeldama are well-developed, individual, and charming characters. There is also plenty of steamy snogging (that's for you Liz). It really could be a stand-alone novel. I loved the setting and the fun inventions that fit into the steam-punk genre that I have just recently discovered (and am totally loving). Sometimes period novels are hard for me, but with the addition of the paranormal and steam-punk elements it kept my interest.  5/5 on this one.

Changeless ***SPOILER ALERT FOR BOOK 1***

 Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria. But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can. She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

This book was good, but didn't have quite as much zing as the first novel. I do love the dynamic between Conall and Alexia, and again, with the witty banter. They have a fun and sweet connection, even though they are both pretty snarky :) I continued to admire Alexia's eccentricities in this novel and her tough, ballsy attitude. However,  I figured out the villain AND the cause of the "infection of normality" AND her "condition" before Alexia did. I prefer to experience my characters "AHA" moments and feel like I didn't see it coming. I had mixed feelings about the new androgynous character Madame Lefoux. Since Alexia did not trust her, I didn't either, but I did appreciate the mystery she added to the plot. All in all though, I did enjoy the story and it was the first book in quite awhile that I really just wanted to sit down and read until I knew what happened. So 4/5 for book 2.
*random side note: not a huge fan of this cover. I think it's the model's bangs. I really have an issue w/ them.

Blameless ***Spoiler Alerts for Books 1 AND 2!!***
Quitting her husband's house and moving back in with her horrible family, Lady Maccon becomes the scandal of the London season. Queen Victoria dismisses her from the Shadow Council, and the only person who can explain anything, Lord Akeldama, unexpectedly leaves town. To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London's vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead. While Lord Maccon elects to get progressively more inebriated and Professor Lyall desperately tries to hold the Woolsey werewolf pack together, Alexia flees England for Italy in search of the mysterious Templars. Only they know enough about the preternatural to explain her increasingly inconvenient condition, but they may be worse than the vampires -- and they're armed with pesto.

I enjoyed Blameless slightly more than Changeless. I think it is due to more action scenes. Alexia is constantly being attacked by someone for some reason and I did not figure out why! They did try to make me suspicious of one of my favorite characters, and succeeded! I enjoyed seeing more of Floote, the ever-stoic gun-wielding butler. It was also very interesting to learn more about Alexia's father, who is somewhat of a mysterious fellow, only known through his journals. Of course, we know from book 2 that Alexia and her father would have never been able to share the same air because of their soulless abilities. My favorite book-recommend-er felt like this book was lacking because of the fact that Conall and Alexia spent the vast majority of it apart. There was very little, if any, steamy snogging in this book. I still liked it though. Some of the plot twists were quite unexpected (Oh Biffy!!) and I was happy to again be surprised. I was a tid bit confused by the scientific experiments though- Does Alexia actually have a soul- just one that's not connected to anything? What the heck are aether and pneuma? And what the heck kind of child have Conall and Alexia conceived?! I am happy to be asking these questions as it means that I will be following Alexia through her next adventure (motherhood apparently) in the next book which I believe is called "Heartless". Hmmm. intriguing.
4.5/5 - I couldn't quite give it a 5/5 because I couldn't quite love it as much as Soulless.  *oh and I love this cover! So much better than Changeless!*


Anonymous said...

Ok--I only glanced at the review of Blameless (b/c I havne't read it yet, and didn't want to know too much). I'm going to read it when I get through with some other books. I may even like it, but I still think it will be a bit disappointing due to the lack of steamy snogging (yay! I think I need some of that in my life....)
Loved, loved, loved Soulless! I've already read it a couple times. :) I agree with Changeless. I predicted a lot, too. I wished Madame Lefoux would take a hint, sometimes. But I still liked her as a character.
Yeah, never liked the Changless cover. But I did like the Blameless one, but that could be b/c I liked that read color. :)
I'm glad you enjoyed my recommendation! I haven't read any more in Sabriel, but if I finish that one before you do, I'll let you know what I think of it.

Anonymous said...

Ooops..."red" color. And I meant "haven't". I am appalled at my grammatical errors!! We'll just call them typos. :)

AshleaD said...

Ok what book is Sabriel- I don't recall this author. Or I may just be brain-dead because I cannot seem to wake up on this dreary day!

Anonymous said...

Sabriel, by Garth Nix. Synopsis (b/c I feel like typing):
Sabriel is the daughter of Mage Abhorsen. Ever since she was a tiny child,she has lived outside teh Wall of the Old Kingdom-far away from the uncontrolled powersof Free Magic, away from the Dead who won't stay dead.
But now her father is missing and Sabriel is called upon to cross back into that world to find him.

And there's more..but that's where I'll stop. It sort of gives you the gist. She's got to go confront some evil and face her destiny, blah blah. I read a little of the beginning. I think it will be pretty good.

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