I had just finished my current book club book and needed something else to read (a little lighter) so I started to read Soulless with absolutely no expectations of it being good. Two days later I had finished and was already downloading the second book – Changeless: The Parasol Protectorate: Book 2, before getting to the last page. What a brilliantly, funny and wickedly smart book! Think Jane Austen with a sharper tongue and wit, oh and with vampires and werewolves.
The language of the book is very formal British (Victorian England) and you can almost hear the rapier tongue of the narrator.
Alexia Tarabotti, a feisty, sharp witted, opinionated woman was born without a soul – she is a preternatural. This means that whenever a supernatural comes into physical contact with her, even a light touch, they become human again. A vampire’s teeth will retract, a werewolf will become human again during a full moon etc. This affliction doesn’t seem to affect Alexia in any way, but it can sometimes be a bit of an inconvenience to her, which leads to hysterical results. The fact that she is the daughter of an Italian is far more of an issue to her status in Victorian England than her soullessness. At just 26 years old Alexia is viewed as a spinster who has no hope of marriage and this she accepts without upset.
The book starts with Alexia accidentally and comically killing a vampire who tries to attack her. This is unheard of in “modern” day England as all the supernatural’s are completely under control as dictated by Queen Victoria. He has no idea what she is so doesn’t understand why his teeth retract and he has no strength when she touches him. What makes this so funny is that all she wanted was some treacle tart and the vampire is in her way of finally eating something at a boring party.
In comes Lord Maccon, The Earl of Wolsey, an alpha werewolf and Head of the BUR (The supernatural police) to clean up the mess. It was hard to not visualize him being played by Hugh Jackman – all muscles and moody hotness. From the second we meet him you can almost feel the physical attraction between Alexia and Lord Maccon. Between the two of them we are taken on a brilliantly fun adventure to find out where the just killed vampire came from.
This book brings in wonderful characters like Lord Akeldema, Alexia’s gay best friend and a very old vampire who loves colorful fashion and clever banter. Lyall, the beta werewolf to Lord Maccon, a bit of a genius. Alexia’s best friend, Ivy who wears the most heinous hats. This book truly has it all with sexy vampires, hot werewolves, crazy scientists, frankenstein monsters, viscous sisters, a demanding mother and downtrodden father – brilliant!
There are also some fairly steamy, albeit innocent to this century, love scenes.
This is a must read for those of us who like a bit of fantasy entwined with a love story mixed with a laugh out loud read.