Monday, November 5, 2012

Soulless by Gail Carriger [Review]

Plot Sketch: Alexia Tarabotti is a preternatural.  What the heck is a preternatural? Someone who has no soul, and thus can neutralize any paranormal being.  She has no formal connection to BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry) but is formally registered as a preternatural with the agency.  Lord Maccon, Alpha of the Woolsey pack, has been working (with) Alexia for years, and when she kills an unsanctioned, unregistered vamp at a social gathering, the two begin to work together to solve the mystery of the unsanctioned vamp.  They run into scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and more along the way.

Verdict:  Well.  I enjoyed the book.  I did.  But I took issue with a lot of the elements.  Plot, characters, and setting were sufficient for me to be engaged, but just enough.  Tense and point of view were often confusing as they shifted without so much as an extra space's warning (at least on the Kindle version).  The novel has both steampunk and paranormal elements, and I've been told for a long time that though it's technically not YA, it will still have a large appeal to the YA audience.  Which is true.  But, make no mistake.  This is an adult novel with inappropriate sexual content not suited to the younger set that reads YA.  I mean, I enjoyed it, but I'm a thirty-year-old married woman.

Additionally, the world building is a little lacking as it is set in the past, but the rules have shifted and sometimes it's hard to keep track what is shifted and what is true to history.  I understand that this argument could be made for many a sci-fi or steampunk novel (and yes, steampunk this most certainly is) but the building in this case was not sufficient for me to understand all of the rules and keep up with the happenings.  There were several "huh?" moments where backing up and rereading did not clarify what was going on.

If you're in the mood for a historical paranormal romance with sci-fi/steampunk elements, then dude, this is your series.  But you'd better be in a mood for all three of those genres to enjoy it without focusing on its flaws.