This is the first book in The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. Best I can tell right now this going to be a trilogy. The second book in the series “Changeless” is due out April 2010. This was a fun read; very creative and fast moving.
Alexia is one of the Soulless; basically she was born without a soul. As a Soulless, or preternatural person, she can nullify those with excessive soul, in this case vampires and werewolves. The whole book takes place in an alternate Victorian era Great Britain. The supernaturals have been integrated into British society. Alexia finds her self entangled in a mystery when some vampires and werewolves begin to go missing and other rogue vampires mysteriously appear. Alexia finds that she herself is in danger of being kidnapped. She ends up being involved with the Alpha werewolf of the region, the very muscular and somewhat uncouth, Lord Maccon; in an effort to figure out what is happening. Despite their differences, she finds herself drawn to Lord Maccon and wonders what he wants with a 25 year old spinster like herself.
This book was a fun read. The plot clicks along pretty good pace and Alexia and Lord Maccon have great chemistry together. Alexia is a rebel for her time and has a wonderful biting sense of humor as well as a great sense of self. She is a great character. There were a number of interesting characters in this book; from Alexia’s flamboyant rogue vampire friend, to Lord Maccon, to Alexia’s butler…the characters are what propel this story and make it intriguing.
There is also a lot of clever world-building in this book. The way Carriger has integrated the supernatural population into Victorian London is clever and seamless. I really enjoyed this twist on the legions of paranormal books out there. The book had me laughing out loud at many points. The scenes between Lord Maccon and Alexia were done tastefully and were very steamy and enrapturing; throwing a good dash of Victorian romance into this book. All in all it was a hard book to put down and when I was finished with it I wanted more.
There were only a couple small things that irritated me about this book. The first was the continuous descriptions of Alexia; we read about her strong nose and olive toned skin a billion times. It got old and I started skimming over many of the repetitive descriptions. I also thought that the story didn’t have as much bite as it should have; the action scenes were only so-so and the peril never really seemed as perilous as it should have. Because of this the book seemed a bit fluffly to me at times; that’s not to say it wasn’t a fun read…it was just more fluff than substance at parts.
All in all I did really enjoy this book. It is a great start to a new series and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book “Changeless”.