Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book Review: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1)
by Gail Carriger


Goodreads Link:

Recommended to Stacy by: fans of Victorian-era costume dramas, action-packed fantasy, and tongue-in-cheek witty humor
Read from December 17 to 23, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Soulless by Gail Carriger is everything I love in a book: action, romance, wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and Victorian sensibilities. Ms. Carriger is a creative genius!

1. I loved the action: I couldn't put the book down, and I constantly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Even at the end of the book, there were still questions rumbling around in my mind, which makes me want to dive into book two, stat! Like what the heck are with all of the Hypocras Club octopuses? (octopi? octopodes?) Even when responsibility forced me to put the book down, it called to me, and I couldn't wait to get back to it.

2. Her world-building is creative and, yet, historically accurate at the same time - that is quite a gift. It's one thing to create a fantasy world of one's own creation - you can make/break any rules you wish; you can organize society to meet your own convenience; you can allow your characters to do as you will. But historical fiction is creatively limiting for most authors - if forces you to stay true to the time, fear anachronistic inaccuracies, dampen fits of fancy in order to remain factual. But with Soulless, Ms. Carriger manages to merge both seamlessly. Her Victorian details, in regards to fashion, food, etiquette, etc., was accurate to the last jot. Even the language and expressions were accurate to the time. It remained very true to it's influential references, Austen and Wodehouse, but at the same time, she was able to weave in all the elements of her fantasy subworld: vampires, werewolves, preternaturals, oh my! Sometimes they were so well merged, that I had to scoff at the possibility: what if there were actually these supernatural creatures in Victorian England? What if? Maybe? Even if my logical brain knew better, her world was so well integrated, that it made me wonder.

3. Her witty banter and tongue-in-cheek humor was chuckle-out-loud funny! Literally! I couldn't help giggling, chortling, chuckling, even when I was sitting in a coffee-shop, during my students' silent-sustained reading, eating in a fancy restaurant. I challenge anyone out there to read this book with a straight face - you just can't! It's impossible! It's just too clever and witty and amusing.

4. Finally a slow-burning romance instead of the over-used, cliched love triangle. Sure, Mr. MacDougall, the American scientist (with the very unAmerican last name, ironically), was there complicating issues, but he never really had a chance, so I don't consider him a worthy angle in a love triangle. It was somewhat reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, where they like each other, but don't; they think they know about each other's intentions, but don't; they feel admiration for each other and want to act on it, but don't. It was endearing. And the romance was definitely folding-fan-worthy! Lord Maccon was very sexy, indeed! Oh, my...very steamy ;) - but true to the time, it was always politely related (until the end, when it couldn't be contained any longer - whoa, mama!). I will say that at first it was a bit strange to think of Lord Maccon as a sex symbol: since I read the Finishing School Series first, I thought of him as Sidheag's Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. And since the Finishing School Series takes place 20 years before Soulless, I had envisioned Lord Maccon more like Sean Connery: old, rough-around-the-edges, formerly handsome, and definitely Scottish. 
Sean Connery
Source: Star Magazine
But upon reading Soulless, this casting had to shift to someone younger and a heck of a lot sexier: maybe Chris Hemsworth or Sam Heughan, the guy who plays Jamie in Outlander - someone beefy and capable of a distant, longing stare, and who would look good naked (read the book, and you'll understand the reason for that).
Sam Heughan (A.K.A Jamie from Outlander)
Source: Pintrest

Chris Hemsworth
Source: Google Images
I did love the Finishing School Series, but I enjoyed this one even more, if that is possible! I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Victorian-era costume dramas, action-packed fantasy, and tongue-in-cheek witty humor. I cannot wait to get started on book two, and I very much look forward to finishing the series as soon as I can. And to think that there is still one more Finishing School book, and the addition of the Custard Protocol series coming out in the future to keep me in this wonderfully-created world. I can't wait :)

page 28
""How ghastly for her...People actually thinking, with their brains, and right next door. Oh, the travesty of it all" (Carriger, Soulless 28). Hahaha! I love Carriger's snarky sarcasm!"
page 28
""But there was something else about Alexia, something...revoltingly independent...Alexia had been born that way, full of logic and reason and sharp words. Not for the first time, Mrs. Loo twill lamented the fact that her eldest had not been a male child; it would have made life very much easier for them all" (Carriger 31). I love Alexia already!"
page 38
""[Lord Maccon] had been Alpha for what, twenty years or so?" (Carriger 38). That means Soulless is happening 20 years after Waistcoats& Weaponry. And since Alexia is 26 in Soulless, she would have been 6 during W&W which is precisely when the "grey-haired man" told her she was soulless, so maybe Carriger will include that in Manners & Mutiny!!!"

page 140
""Strange place, that overseas land [a.k.a. America], where religion and wealth did the talking and history and age held so little sway" (Carriger, Soulless 140)."
page 159
""Cats were not, in her experience, an animal with much soul. Prosaic, practical little creatures, as a general rule. It would suit [Alexia] very well to be thought catlike" (Carriger 159). Ah! Is that why cats are often associated with devilry and witchcraft? Because they have very little soul? Interesting!"
page 166
""He tore his eyes away from the tops of those remarkable breasts of hers and tried to think unpleasant thoughts of particularly horrible things, like overcooked vegetables and cut-rate wine" (Carriger 166). Oh, how I absolutely adore Ms. Carriger's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor! I laughed out loud in the middle of the coffee shop when I read this line! She has the most amazing way with quirky juxtapositions :)"
page 187
"New word: a bluestocking 1. a woman with considerable scholarly, literary, or intellectual ability or interest. 2. a member of a mid-18th-century London literary circle: Lady Montagu was a celebrated bluestocking. Origin: 1675–85; so called from the informal attire, especially blue woolen instead of black silk stockings, worn by some women of the group (def 2)"
page 197
"Awesome new word: fibberty-jibbitus "Your family, they are a bit, well...fibberty-jobbitus, are they not?" (Carriger 196-197)."
page 220
"Lord Akeldama's view on life: "Information: reason for living. Well, that and fashion" (Carriger 220). He is an hilarious character."

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