Going into Soulless I didn’t know what to expect. I was hesitant about reading Carriger’s work because maybe I just wouldn’t enjoy it as much as a male. Sure, I still have some lingering prejudices against romance literature after years of society telling me, “Men don’t read romance! Men read books with war and masculinity tropes! Real men only read non-fiction.” Yah, this type of ridiculous cultural conditioning happens all the time, but we mostly see it from the viewpoint of women. I’m doing this review because a paranormal book about Victorian England, with an overabundance of English-manner chatting by young women with parasols and large ribbed skirts, isn’t something lauded by men often but it should. I’m here to say that this type of thinking is outdated and this was just a fun book.
First off, Carriger delivers this book with a Jane Austen wit and humor while still staying true to the Victorian writing style. Carriger uses a lot of great adjectives that I loved to read, words I last read in an Austen or Dickens novel, or maybe my SAT test. A few times I had to refresh my brain on the meaning of a few of these because other than Steven Erikson books, my last fantasy/sci-fi read didn’t really challenge me in the vocabulary department. I think this is the main reason I enjoyed this novel because it felt like I was reading a book written in 18th-19th century England, which allowed me to think I’m a little bit more educated than usual.
Soulless has a basic plot to it. A young, rich girl, that is basically a spinster at the old age of twenty-nine(wut?) because she has a big nose(…?) has a gift to be able to turn supernatural creatures normal when she touches them. Vampires lose their bite and werewolves lose their claws when Alexia Tarraboti touches them so naturally she falls in love with a werewolf. The werewolf she falls in love with is a part of some supernatural intelligence agency and Alexi gets embroiled in a weird plot about humans trying to take back dominance over the socially and culturally acceptable supernatural creatures. It’s a fun book with the tropey romance pairing of a guy and girl that gets on each other’s nerves and rustles each other’s feathers but in the end find passion. Yep the “scruffy-looking nerfherder,” trope.
If you are looking for something fun and quick to read that will give you Austen feels while at the same time being a little bit tantalizing, check this out. The series gets more complex and plotty after this book but you can’t go wrong with this romp of a book. Fellow guys, just give it a try, and if you hate it you can go back to reading Malazan for the 3rd time, which reminds me, I just started book 9, and I already wish it is as fun as Soulless was.
16/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
3 – Characters
3 – World Building/Setting
4 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect