July 25, 2010 by Emily
by Gail Carriger
Source: e-book purchased from Barnes & Noble
Pre-Twilight mania (yes, folks, we did live in a Twilight-free world once; ahhh, those were the days) I viewed the vampire genre with polite disinterest. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of vampires I’d ever had any interest in: two – the Count from Sesame Street (who doesn’t love the Count??) and Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit from James Howe’s hilarious books. (Because, you see, I am powerless in the face of titles like The Celery Stalks at Midnight. Get it? Get it? Celery stalks?? Bwahahahahaha!) Anyway.
But it is a post-Twilight world we live in now and times have changed. Now whenever I see or hear anything even remotely vampire-related instead of feeling polite disinterest I want to poke myself in the eye. A little drastic, I know, but seriously. I realize I’m in the minority here, but the madness has to stop.
But. I have found an exception to the rule. Not only did Soulless not make me want to poke myself in the eye, it’s even brought my list of favorite vampires up to the three: Lord Akeldama, a very flamboyant vampire who speaks in italics constantly and who, underneath the flamboyance and italics, seems to need a hug. Which I would totally give him, except, well, he’s fictional. And a vampire. A nice vampire, yes, but still. Those sharp teeth make me a little nervous.
I came to Soulless entirely by accident. I spent the last couple of weeks bouncing from blog to blog reading post submissions for BBAW, and in the course of this bouncing stumbled across a review for Soulless. (I really wish I could remember where I read it, but my mind has gone totally blank.) Much to my shock, the book actually sounded good, so I downloaded a sample onto my Nook. After reading the sample I immediately downloaded the entire book, which I proceeded to read in one day.
This book was a complete and utter delight. Set in Victorian England, it’s not the Victorian England we’re familiar with. Here vampires and werewolves are part of every day life and have been for centuries. I thought Gail Carriger handled this beautifully. She doesn’t spend pages and pages trying to convince her reader of the validity of this world she’s created; she simply inserts bits of explanation here and there without disrupting the flow of the story. She’s convincing, too. I was so completely pulled into the story that when I came to one of the sex scenes I was totally shocked by how graphic it was. I mean, really! For a woman to write such things – how improper! And then I came back to earth and remembered this was published a year ago, not over 100 years ago. Oops.
I got a huge kick out of the lead character, too. It’s hard not to like a woman who, in the first chapter, retreats to the library to escape a boring ball, where she scolds a rude vampire for his lack of manners, whacks him with her parasol, and then is more upset that said vampire knocked over the treacle tart than by the fact that he tried to bite her. And that’s just the beginning. Wait until you read the exchanges between her and her friend Ivy – hilarious!
So. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a book filled with vampires and werewolves, but go read this. It’s no Bunnicula, but it’s great fun nonetheless.
Did I miss your review? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!