Soulless—Gail Carriger

Her heart was doing crazy things, and she still could not locate her kneecaps. She took a deep breath and put some serious attention into tracking them down. (118)
Soulless was the alt pick for the fourth ever episode of Vaginal Fantasy. (The main that month was The Iron Duke, post premiering June 2.) The first alt pick, too.

As I mentioned in my review of Silent in the Grave, I am a sucker for fiction set in Victorian times. Also, I talked about in Grave Witch how I felt as though I was vampired and werewolved out, but this new twist on the lore kept me interested. I'm not certain that the whole notion of "soullessness" was completely fleshed out, but the idea of a preternatural being who could negate the supernatural facets of vampires and werewolves, rendering them essentially human again, was intriguing.

Alexia is totally a favourite heroine now. I liked that her lack of tact was an apparent byproduct of her preternaturalness, as well as her assumed spinsterhood. (If only we all had a ready-made excuse for our bluntness.) And the kind of by-the-by, scientific way that she thinks about the sexy times that happen between her and Conall. "Alexia was scientifically intrigued. Had he gotten even larger down there? What was the maximum possible expansion ratio?" (169) The fact that she was stubborn was incredibly relatable to me, as I've had people mention that's a trait I have; although I have no idea what they're talking about.

Alexia's mother reminded me a bit of Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, in that same "concerned with appearances but not realizing how ridiculous I am, and also why are you not married" kind of way.

I enjoyed the playful style of writing. I liked that it was fun but also developed enough to not leave me with a bunch of questions. (I mean, some questions. But not a bunch.) The information about how history was slightly changed as a result of the presence of supernatural characters was believable, and introduced in a not-overbearing way. For instance, this moment when Alexia is recalling history: "She knew her history. The puritans left Queen Elizabeth's England for the New World because the queen sanctioned the supernatural presence in the British Isle." (144) Interesting twist on our reality of the situation.

It did seem like the actual physical moments came a bit out of left field. I mean, sure, there was some chemistry and tension between them, but then Connal was just like, "Nope, can't handle it anymore. Just going to kiss you in the middle of the street, even though I've shown no indication of having any feelings for you and don't even realize that I have them myself." What? Also, I'm not sure I'm in love with the idea of "impaled" as a euphemism for penetration.

I definitely didn't get a little teary when Alexia takes Lord Akelmada out to watch the sunset. That wasn't super touching at all. Shut up. You are.

The italics to emphasize Lord Akelmada's speech patterns got a bit irritating, but I liked the character so that evened out.

The mention of Snow and his belief that cholera was spread through tainted water supply was very period appropriate and also super nerdy. I read a book about this, and felt impressed with myself that I immediately knew the historical reference. Although I'm a total history nerd, and majored in History at university, my focus was definitely not Victorian-era medical advances. The book was The Ghost Map, and was quite enlightening and also sad to think about all of the people who still struggle with the essentially obsolete disease as a result of lack of clean water. (You can read my thoughts on The Ghost Map here.)

I'm looking forward to reading the others in this series as soon as they are available via my library. By the way, if I haven't mentioned it already, this whole eBooks through the public library things is primo.

Four down!

The ladies didn't talk about Soulless much—perhaps because there was absinthe involved for some of them during this Hangout—but you can catch some of it at the end, and then hold onto the rest for The Iron Duke post next week. I have some strong feelings about it.

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