Soulless by Gail CarrigerSoulless by Gail Carriger


byGail Carriger

Mass Market Paperback | October 1, 2009

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Buffymeets Jane Austen in the first book of this wickedly funnyNYTbestselling series about a young woman whose brush with the supernatural leads to a deadly investigation of London's high society.
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<_st13a_state _w3a_st="on"><_st13a_place _w3a_st="on">Victoriato investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to<_st13a_city _w3a_st="on"><_st13a_place _w3a_st="on">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 the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
The Parasol Protectorate

For more from Gail Carriger, check out:

The Custard Protocol

Finishing School(YA)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Manners & Mutiny
New York Timesbestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in ...
Title:SoullessFormat:Mass Market PaperbackProduct dimensions:384 pages, 6.75 × 4.25 × 1 inShipping dimensions:6.75 × 4.25 × 1 inPublished:October 1, 2009Publisher:OrbitLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316056634

ISBN - 13:9780316056632


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique and fun Though the prose can be a little difficult to comprehend at times because of it's (very in character) complicatedness it's also hilarious. Werewolves and vampires and a whole new creature oh my! There's tons of fun world building in this book that I really enjoyed.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Steampunk Novel Steampunk, werewolves and vampires - all in one! A perfect indulgence!
Date published: 2018-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great This is the first steampunk book I have read in awhile and enjoyed it. It was a funny mix of paranormal fun.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Undecided. Simply, this book is pretentious; the author's intermittent use of orotundity (see what I did there??) suggests that her lexicographic repertoire is not as comprehensive as she would have her readers believe. The heroine is elitist; Alexia looks down her admittedly large nose at everyone she encounters (even those to whom she professes friendship). Frankly, I should have hated this book. But I didn’t. In fact, despite its fusion-esque genre jumping, largely unlikeable characters (save for a small handful), its borderline obsessive descriptions of Alexia’s appearance, its general paucity in all other descriptions, its predictable storyline, and its utter lack of character development, I quite enjoyed this book. It was a light and fun read that distracted me from a terrible weekend. Also, if she used the word “dirigible” once more (like Sting and "a thousand rainy days since we first met" - she even insisted on saying it in that boring as Hell interview at the end of the book), I would have screamed.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great steampunk supernatural mash up Fun story with a strong, intelligent, fun female protagonist and a hilarious romantic interest. Entertaining cast of supporting characters too. Loved it!
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great steampunk story! I love this series! The main character is intelligent and witty and the world Carriger created is a fun mix of steampunk and supernatural!
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Steampunk Read! Soulless is a great read!
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fabulous book! A strong, intelligent, witty, and well developed lead female character, a grumpy but charming Scottish werewolf lead, supernaturals, and steampunk shenanigans all dropped into Victorian London. What's not to love. Fair warning to others who started with Her Finishing School series though, this series of Gail Carriger's is a bit more explicit ;)
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Steampunk the way it should be! This isn't just your standard steampunk, however, because its also supernatural! Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and Soulless all help make this an even more fascinating universe. Funny, insightful, innovative, action packed, and heartfelt, Gail always make stories a joy to experience. I love this series.
Date published: 2014-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story Enjoyed the story. I found the shifting points of view slightly confusing and some of the writing a bit lazy, but the story was fun. The wasn't enough stream punk for my tastes, but that hardly mattered.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely! The writing style was a bit slow for me, being an American. But, nevertheless, great book. I hate the new age vampires and weres. This book reminds me of the original lore with a new "out of the coffin" twist.
Date published: 2013-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First Steampunk...& I loved it. So funny in that British Victorian Age way. Got the entire series to date.
Date published: 2013-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Entertaining I honestly found this book a little slow in the beginning. But it's to be expected setting the world in which this series is set. It does catch on about 1/3 of the way through, and then you can't get enough. Witty, sarcastic, and dramatic. All that with eloquent vocabulary. Overall fantastically entertaining. I recommend the entire series!
Date published: 2012-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Victorian England I can Love Set during the time of Queen Victoria's reign, when vampires, werewolves and ghosts have long been a recognized segment of proper society, spinster Alexia Tarabotti finds herself confronted with a strange vampire during a society ball. She doesn't feel bad that she killed the vampire, afterall, she had to defend herself, but she is concerned that he didn't seem to understand who she is. All vampires know what a preternatural is and are understandably weary of them. These soulless people have long been the hunters of vampires. Lord Conall Maccon, the fourth Earl of Woolsey, also the Alpha Werewolf in London and a head official at the Bureau of Unnatural Registry, is the first on the scene and the first to understand the significance of Alexia's concern. It's obvious these two have met before and I can just imagine him rolling his eyes and thinking " I should have known you would be behind this". Somehow Lord Maccon manages to keep Alexia's name and the information that the dead man was a vampire, out of the newspaper. At that point I was left wondering if he was just doing his job or did he have and interest in Miss Tarabotti. This is a very proper and etiquette minded time period in British history and yes, it even applied to the supernatural citizens. Alexia may be a spinster, but she is still subject to the rules of society. She is also a widely read woman with an interest in scientific advancement. I quickly got the impression that she goes from one calamity to the next with no comprehension of how these incidents keeping happening to involve her. It could be her association with the vampire Lord Akeldama, a very old and flamboyant confident. It could also be her willingness to converse with those that no one else would dare, such as with Countess Nadasdy, head of the London vampires. Or perhaps, it is just that being soulless leaves her with no fear for the outcome of her actions. I loved this book. The Victorian setting combined with cutting edge machinery and inventions made for edge of the seat reading. I never knew what I would be exposed to next. It could be a proper cup of tea or a small steam engine that could preform some whimsical operation. I looked forward to each of Ivy Hisselpenny's visits to Alexia, always wondering what outlandish hat she would be wearing. I can't wait to read Changeless, the next book in this series.
Date published: 2011-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! I loved all four books in this series! They just kept getting funnier and funnier! I would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes a little wit with their tea. Can't wait for Timeless!
Date published: 2011-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I actually bought this book a year ago but didn't get around to reading it till recently. I highly recommend this book to lovers of steampunk, romance, and fantasy of which I am of all three!
Date published: 2011-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jane Austen meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Delightful!! Please allow me to introduce to your notice, Miss Alexia Tarabotti. Sadly, as a spinster, and soulless preternatural, not to mention the daughter of - gasp! - an ITALIAN, Miss Tarabotti is hardly a ranking member of London's fashionable ton. Nevertheless, she has caught the eye of the handsome but irritaing, Lord Maccon, werewolf and leader of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry. Regrettably, she has also inadvertently dispatched a rogue vampire, in the library of the Duchess of Snodgrove and will most certainly have some explaining to do to Lord Maccon! Not that this course of events shall trouble Alexia over-much, for one of her dearest enjoyments is the opportunity to verbally spar with the prickly and arrogant werewolf. If only Alexia could make sense of the very odd, and most vexing sensations she experiences in unmentionable areas of her person, when his Lordship is in proximity! Whatever she will eventually tell her extremely silly Mama and two dim-witted step-sisters about the business, one cannot presume to guess. But, knowing Alexia, whatever she comes up with will be both entertaining and plausible, if not always entirely truthful! Clearly someone will be required to investigate the most unusual happenings currently underway in London, among the supernaturals in the city. Surely the Queen would want someone to get to the bottom of this, being as Her Majesty is the ruler of the vampires, werewolves and ghosts within her realm! Since it appears no one ELSE is up to the task, Alexia must do her duty and sort out the matter forthwith! The description for this book says it's a cross between Jane Austen and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I can't think of a more apt explanation. The book is quirky, clever and delightful. I am charmed and addicted to Alexia, who is both proper and spunky as she gets into scrape after scrape as the story progresses, although through no fault of her own. All the other characters in this book are marvelous as well, and I cannot wait to read the next two books in this series! Readers of Victoriana and/or supernatural fiction should enjoy this book.
Date published: 2010-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Quirky Paranormal / Historical Story “Soulless”, the first book in ‘the Parasol Protectorate’ series by Gail Carriger, is in a word delightful. The fact that the story takes place in nineteenth century England adds an endearing quality to the characters and the plot. The tale holds all the elements of a historical romance novel — including corsets and ruffles, bonnets and chaperones, carriages and flighty sisters. (The sisters are quite funny, what with their charm and brainlessness). Now don’t let all this cutesy historical stuff fool you. There is some pretty gritty and gruesome paranormal stuff happening in this book, especially the in last hundred pages or so. It kind of took me by surprise seeing how most of the book is quite light and quirky. I thought the fact that our heroine was born without a soul thus giving her the ability to, with a simple touch, negate a supernatural being’s powers and rendering him or her essentially human (at least until she let’s go) to be an ingenious and unique concept. Once again, I am in awe of authors and their infinite ideas and astonishing imaginations! Miss Alexia Tarabotti is charming to read. She is quite sassy – well, as sassy as a lady can be during Victorian times – and set in her ways. She’s comfortable with her station in life and doesn’t expect much to change. Her relationship with Lord Conall Maccon, Alpha werewolf, is really sweet. Alexia and Conall don’t expect the turn their relationship ultimately takes, and witnessing their reaction is so much fun. I loved Lord Akeldama (a flamboyant vampire) and his ‘minions’. Goodness, even Queen Victoria herself makes an appearance in this book! Every character you encounter is very likable – and if they aren’t, they are at least very well written (Of course I am speaking of the vile and loathsome Mr. Siemons). I am very glad I plucked “Soulless” out of my book closet to read. It has been sitting there for quite some time and it was about time I did something about that. I had heard many wonderful things about this book and I’m glad to say I was not disappointed. The second Alexia Tarabotti novel, entitled “Changeless” is available now. The third book “Blameless” comes out September 1st 2010. 4 stars
Date published: 2010-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sign Me Up For the Parasol Protectorate! Soulless: check. Spinster: check. Silver-tipped Parasol: check! Get ready for a whole new spin on vampires, shapeshifters and dirigibles! Alexia Tarabotti is not only half-Italian (gasp!) she's also lacking a soul, which means that she's baddest of bad (well, to the bad guys, anyway!). And if that's not horrible enough, her very best friend has atrocious taste in hats! Carriger does a great job of putting a new spin on a common theme and kept my attention engaged right until the end. It's fantasy and comedy mixed in with a bit of a mystery. The main character defies the traditional role of a Victorian spinster - she's quirky, strong-willed and extremely capable. There's no suspenseful ending to the book (though the author does close out the chapter quite skillfully) but I found myself wanting to read the next installment if only to continue to follow the characters! If you're looking for a good laugh and an engaging cast of characters, then you'll want to read Soulless!
Date published: 2010-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dinnae Marry Fur Money! The scene for Soulless is set in the Victorian era where the supernatural – namely vampires, werewolves & ghosts have been integrated into the echelons English society. This made Britain the 1st & only nation at that time not to treat the supernatural as natural enemies of man. Enter our heroine Alexia Tarabotti as a well-bred spinster whose strong independent personality has all but ruined her prospects of ever being wed. Not to mention her Italian heritage on her father’s side that resulted in what would have been considered unattractive physical features for the time & that she is indeed soulless. She is referred to as preternatural; a simple touch from her is like kryptonite to any supernatural being making them very easy to kill. Alexia’s state is somewhat known within the supernatural community but not to her family or friends. Alexia becomes entangled in a mystery that centers on missing rogue vampires & lone werewolves. She seeks aid from a flamboyant vampire named Lord Akeldama & is protected from harm whether she likes it or not by Lord Maccon, Earl of Woolsey & Alpha of the London werewolves who is also head of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR). Alexia’s awkward but burgeoning relationship with Lord Maccon makes for great comedy as well as adds romantic tension to the tale. Gail Carriger’s writing is playful, humorous & flat out entertaining. The cast of characters are all distinctive individuals that do not necessarily share the prescribed supernatural attributes as assigned to them by other authors in the same genre.
Date published: 2010-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Soulless.....but lot's of heart and thrills Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster with a strong mind and a stronger opinion who also happens to be a preternatural, a person without a soul. When Alexia touches a supernatural person, they equal each other out and the supernatural person becomes human as long as Alexia is touching them. A rogue vampire at a ball attacks Alexia, and while defending herself she kills the vampire. Lord Marccon (werewolf) and his beta Professor Lyall (werewolf) are quickly on the scene to help. Marccon is the Alpha leader for the local pack and in charge or the BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry). Preternatural’s can touch supernatural’s and they become human, at which point supernatural’s can easily be killed. Due to this the vampire’s in town are a little worried about who and what Alexia is. Add to the problem that vampires and werewolves are going missing, and new rogue vampires keep showing up, Alexia finds herself in the middle of it all. With Lord Marccon taking charge in Alexia’s protection, Alexia also finds herself drawn to Lord Marccon like she never has been before. Since Alexia never dreamed she would get married, this causes her a bit of confusion and frustration. Alexia follows the rules of society, while Lord Marccon follows the mating rituals of the pack. (Made for some really fun moments). After two failed attempts to kidnap Alexia, the mysterious group that is behind it all finally succeeds in getting Alexia; only at first they don’t know that they have her. They were kidnapping Alexia’s friend Lord Akeldama (vampire), and she was in the way. Once they do figure it out, they intend to use Alexia as part of their plans with or without her consent in the matter. One of the first things they do is lock her in a cell with a werewolf and the peak of the full moon. If Alexia can survive great, if not, well they can study her body. Wow this was a really great start to this new series, one that I am really excited to see play out. Alexia is strong smart and happy with how she is. It was also nice to see a new take on the word of vampires and werewolves and the opposing group to the supernatural the preternatural. I am really happy that I picked this one up!
Date published: 2010-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best Victorian heroine in ages! Alexia Tarabotti (Italian father, not at all her fault!) is all that is proper in a Victorian gentlewoman. Yes, she's a spinster, but she has fully accepted her lot in life. Her days are made more exciting, however, by her run-ins with Lord Conall Maccon, London's Alpha werewolf and Queen Victoria's go-to guy for all things supernatural (and preternatural). Unfortunately for Maccon, the more he tries to keep Alexia out of his investigation, the deeper she becomes involved. In the end they must work together to solve the mystery and save the day. This is one of the best renderings of a Victorian Lady that I have read in a very long time. Gail has created a wonderful heroine that she keeps true to her upbringing and heritage, IMO. The mystery is mysterious and exciting; the romance is charming, sweet, and exciting; and the characters are likable as well as believable (and exciting). Even though this is only book one of the Parasol Protectorate I am already a huge fan. I can't wait to read what happens in Changeless!
Date published: 2009-12-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Naughty Miss Tarabotti! Imagine if Kim Newman had a sense of humor when he wrote Anno Dracula, or that the Underworld film franchise had been produced by the BBC as part of their classics collection, or that your local chapter of Vampire: The Masquerade were comedy improv actors with overactive sex drives, and you begin to picture the world Gail Carriger introduces in her first novel Soulless. Soulless is set in an alternate London where the monsters, not homosexuals have come out of the closet (although we get a wonderfully flamboyant vampire as well!), and have adjusted to nineteenth century life, becoming part of high society and government. Werewolves and vampires are as common in Carriger's Victorian England as top hats and corsets. While this idea is not particularly original given my earlier comparisons, it is how Carriger handles the supernaturals' assimilation into English society that makes for an interesting and amusing read. Vampires and werewolves alike must abide by the rigid morality of Victoria's reign, as demonstrated when the heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, is attacked by a vampire who didn't ask before trying to drink her blood. How rude! The juxtaposition of these supernatural icons alongside a echoes of the comedy of manners is the source of Carriger's comedy. The narrative dances from a threat out of a Hammer horror film to Masterpiece Theatre in the blink of the reader's eye. When Alexia is warned to refuse an invitation to a vampire hive out of concern for her safety, she replies, "I have already accepted Countess Nadasdy's invitation. It would churlish to refuse now." Later we learn that "Highland werewolves had a reputation for doing atrocious and highly unwarranted things, like wearing smoking jackets to the dinner table." Atrocious, indeed. This tension between the dark gothic world and proper high society is embodied in Alexia Tarabotti. While Alexia is painfully aware of social conventions, she constantly rails against them, likely due to her lack of a soul. This is not a spoiler: Alexia's condition is revealed early on. And while I would have preferred Carriger string that mystery out longer, revealing it later in the novel, it does not detract from the overall sense of enjoyment one can have in reading Soulless. Given her tension, Alexia provides the twenty-first century reader an accessible gateway to the London of Carriger's imagination. Her iconoclasm toward proper behavior enables her to act and think in a fashion modern readers can identify with--after all, while Carriger's author-bio shows Jane Austen as an influence, Ms. Tarabotti is rather naughty when compared to Elinor Dashwood or Emma Woodhouse. For all its manners and monsters, it's a sexy yarn; had I been on the marketing team for this novel, I'd have recommended the cover lampoon those of bodice rippers. There aren't any great messages or manifestos in Soulless. It's just good, undead and unclean fun: Carriger's bawdy, robust approach to Alexia's sexuality makes for a great antidote to the supposed abstinence agenda of the Twilight series. At the very least, Carriger's vampires have fangs, and the only ones who sparkle, do so because their waistcoat does.
Date published: 2009-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Will appeal to Lovers of Steampunk, Urban Fantasy and Romance A fast paced novel filled with vampires, werewolves, tea and parasols, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is feisty and fun reminding one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at some times and Elizabeth Bennett at others. A clever reworking of the Victorian era.
Date published: 2009-06-05

Editorial Reviews

"Soulless has all the delicate charm of a Victorian parasol, and all the wicked force of a Victorian parasol secretly weighted with brass shot and expertly wielded. Ravishing."-Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians