Supernatural romance? Horror…romance? Gothic?

Soulless by Gail Carriger

As you can see, I’m not sure what category this falls into. There are elements of all sorts of things at work here – horror (there are vampires and ghosts and werewolves all in a steampunky Victorian England complete with dirigibles [because no self-respecting steampunk setting would leave out the airships]), thriller (rogue vampires are turning up and vampires and werewolves are disappearing – but to what end?), and romance (sparks fly between Alexia and Lord Maccon [though he really had to work hard to win me over – I much prefer Professor Lupin Lyall, his Beta (and I also have to admit that I was a little disappointed when this didn’t mean what I automatically assumed it did)]).

But whatever it is, I did like it. Quite a bit. It was slow going at first, but that may have been because Carriger had lots of setting to, well, set up and characters to introduce (in addition to Alexia, Lord Maccon, and Professor Lyall, there are lots of fun secondary characters, my favorites being Lord Akeldema, Floote the butler, and Alexia’s friend Ivy who has terrible taste in hats) and all of that sort of felt like it bogged down the plot a bit. But the setting is interesting and the characters are likable. I did get a little distracted by the occasional lurches in point of view – most of the book is obviously told through Alexia, but every once in a while – and just for, like, a sentence here and there – we suddenly jump into someone else’s head (also along those lines, depending on whose head we’re in, the names alternate from using first names [e.g., Alexia or Ivy] to last names and titles [e.g., Miss Tarabotti or Miss…well, whatever Ivy’s last name is. Yes, I’m that lazy.]) which got a little bit confusing.

I’m pretty much hooked. There are touches of wry humor and a few subtle winks to the reader, too. I’m very interested to see what’s ahead for these characters (Changeless is out now and Blameless follows in September).

My rating: B+