I’m moderately ashamed at the amount of time I’ve spent gaming in the last few weeks. To get back to my roots, as it were, I’ve put in a concerted effort to read more and of a wider variety. Several months ago, I began following the picks and discussions of the Vaginal Fantasy group. I’ve never been much of a romance reader, but the books they pick tend to be sexy and funny, so I trusted their recommendations.
On my last trip to the library, I picked up a copy of Soulless by Gail Carriger. While not one of the monthly picks, it was recommended on the basis of being similar to but funnier than The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.
Soulless is a novel that covers a lot of genres: werewolves, vampires, ghosts, preternaturals, and steam punk all collide in a terribly funny, amazingly clever story. It’s the story of Alexia Tarabotti, a twenty-something spinster in the middle of nineteenth-century London. Alexia is a rarity in a world of supernatural beings – she is preternatural, or without a soul. Her soullessness gives her the unique ability to negate supernatural powers.
When rove vampires and loner werewolves begin disappearing all over England, Queen Victoria sends Lord Maccon (a boorish, dead-sexy Alpha) to investigate. Quite without trying, Alexia finds herself caught up in the investigation by simply being in the right place at the right time with the least amount of soul possible. This is endlessly annoying to Lord Maccon and beyond embarrassing for Alexia’s family, but rather amusing for Alexia herself.
I’ll admit that I didn’t expect to enjoy this book. I don’t do romance, as I usually find the writing silly, embarrassing, or lewd for the sake of lewdness. This is none of those things. The writing is brilliant. Carriger uses her character’s innocence to make the sexy bits cute and funny as well as enticing. She’s never blatant and she never has to be.
I really enjoyed Soulless. If you don’t have much experience with the steam punk, romance, or fantasy genres, this is the place to start. It’s smart, witty, and sexy in all the right ways.