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Soulless: Book 1 of The Parasol Protectorate [Paperback]

Gail Carriger
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010 Parasol Protectorate (Book 1)

Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

***Also available as a manga adaptation***

Frequently Bought Together

Soulless: Book 1 of The Parasol Protectorate + Changeless: Book 2 of The Parasol Protectorate + Blameless: Book 3 of The Parasol Protectorate
Price For All Three: £19.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841499722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499727
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P. G. Wodehouse (

Soulless has all the delicate charm of a Victorian parasol and all the wicked force of a Victorian parasol secretly weighted with brass shot and expertly wielded. Ravishing (Lev Grossman, author of THE MAGICIANS)

Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history . . . This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Soulless is a potent cocktail of genres - fantasy, horror, steampunk, romance and comedy. It's light-hearted, escapist fodder . . . One is amused (SciFiNow)

Funny, action-packed, sometimes raunchy, unashamedly fashion-conscious steampunk adventures (Trudi Canavan (SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author))

Book Description

Buffy meets Jane Austen in this wickedly funny debut novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, articulate, original nonsense 21 Nov 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well this one is a stumper....hard to know how to categorise it. In a world of infinite possibilities, someone, somewhere thought to ask the question, 'what would happen if I crossed victorian morality with historical urban fantasy, added a dash of high camp Carry-on and then threw in some werewolves, vampires and fashion tips?'. Soulless is the quirky and delightful answer to that bizarre question. a triumph of style over substance, this boasts little plot to speak of and yet is carried forward briskly by the deliciously spiky and most sarcastic voice of the narrator.

It was a brave and clever publisher that took a chance on this. It fits no neat box and as such could appeal to anyone with a taste for the dialogue of a Buffy episode filtered by way of Charles Dickens. If you have a dry wit and a way with words, there are quotes to be had for you here! I revelled in Ms Carriger's linguistic playfullness. Ultimatly this was less a novel than an excuse to show off an excitable imagination and a command of obscure vocabulary. that said, the plot, such as it was, exploded forcefully in the final few chapters and if this is seen as delightful prelude to a startlingly original new series then in book 2, perhaps having established her rules, convention and voice, Ms Carriger will truly dazzle us all. Recommended- but for who and why, i will have to remain silent!
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much fun! 15 Jan 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What an absolute treat this book was to read! I absolutely loved it. I was recommended this book a few months ago so I picked up a copy when in NYC in December as it wasn't out in the UK then. Then in January I was lucky enought to interview Gail for this blog and was even more fascinated and intriguied when I read her answers. Who knew a book about vampires, werewolves and ghosts wandering around Victorian London and attending tea-parties would be so much fun? From the minute I cracked open the spine I knew I was in for a great ride. Our heroine is Miss Alexia Tarabotti and she has fast become one of my favourite characters in any book: she's feitsy, speaks her own mind, sarcastic, soulless, large chested and so funny!
In the opening pages, Miss Tarabotti accidentally kills a rogue vampire who tries to attack her, and although she is put out that said vampire doesn't appear to know that she was born without a soul and therefore immune to any supernatural attack, she is more annoyed that the vampire landed in the middle of the food table and on top of the treacle tart, which she had particularly been looking forward to. Within minutes, The Earl of Wolsey, Lord Maccon, arrives in the middle of the mess - he has been sent by Queen Victoria to investigate the mystery of disappearing registered vampires and appearing rogue vampires. Lord Maccon also happens to be a werewolf, the Alpha at that, and Miss Tarabotti appears to exasperate him at every turn. The characters are what really made this book, for me. Alexia aside, I also fell in love with Lord Akeldama, a flambouyant vampire who practically minces through the pages, and Lyall, Lord Maccon's beta werewolf and sidekick are fantastic, as are the vile Mrs Loontwill (Alexia's mother) and her two sisters.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, very enjoyable 11 Nov 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very fun read. As the first in what I expect will be a successful series it was an intriguing mystery with some characters that I hope will continue into the next books and a lot of comedy (I'd love to know what exactly happened with the hedgehog).

It took me a couple of pages to get used to the initially very formal style, this is just scene setting and by the end of the first chapter things were rollicking along. Alexia is a very appealing character and her practicality in the face of supernatural beings made me laugh out loud.

Suffering from the twin social disabilities of lack of soul and a deceased Italian father (the latter being the most socially damning) she's a cross between Mary Poppins and Elizabeth Bennett with a dash of Cinderella thrown in. Bored by the limitations of her position she is resourceful at involving herself in situations where she can be of use, since her lack of soul makes her a unique asset in finding out who is creating new and unsanctioned vampires in London.

The book is "a Steampunk murder mystery with werewolves", but the thing I was most strongly reminded of were Georgette Heyer's regency romances. Whatever, it was good fun and I'll be reading more from this author, I like her sense of humour.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly bonkers, but super fun! 7 April 2011
By Steampunk TOP 500 REVIEWER
I bought this, the first of these books, just because I'd heard them described as 'Steampunk'. When it arrived and I saw the blurb about vampires and werewolves, my heart sank. This wasn't what I'd wanted at all.

Within a few pages I was hooked. The advertising slogan that compares these books to P G Wodehouse and Jane Austen is far wide of the mark, but they're great fun nevertheless. The heroine is VERY memorable, there are a host of other interesting characters, the dialogue is often razor-sharp - and there are a lot of titillating laugh-out-loud bits!

These books are near perfect, and I can only think of one thing that would make them (for me) substantially better. The author isn't an 'English' English speaker. This means, in a book set in Victorian Britain, there are frequent moments when the characters speak in anachronistic Americanisms. Every time this happened it broke the spell for me and knocked me right out of the story. Ms Carriger REALLY ought to employ a native Brit to proof-read her manuscripts before sending them off to the printer.

Nevertheless, 5 stars worth of fun!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
As described, no issues. A fantastic and charming read as are all the books in the series, give them a try.
Published 15 days ago by Tim James
5.0 out of 5 stars very funny, very entertaining
With very intriguing and witty allusions to class society this is a highly entertaining read, reminded my of Georgette Heyer's writing.
Published 1 month ago by Ella Jakobson
5.0 out of 5 stars This is such a fun read, very witty
This is such a fun read, very witty, funny a great read for everyone who likes a good story. I bought the book fro m reading the first few pages on Amazon and enjoyed the book... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nicholas Gary Packham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great surprise
This is an original and entertaining story. What small failings it manages in historical detail it more than makes up in amusing characters and plot device s. Read more
Published 5 months ago by terryj
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly enjoyable
The only jarring notes (funnily enough) were food references. I'm guessing the author is American, because nobody familiar with British food (steampunk, Victorian, or modern)... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brunneria
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book, awesome characters, huge amount of fun, and the plots keep me entertained and even manage to surprise me! Read more
Published 10 months ago by elcunliffe
4.0 out of 5 stars Parasol glory
What a great story. Smart, well written, set in a fabulously imagined alternate world with a ballsy (if somewhat soulless) heroine, well dressed vampires and an Alpha Werewolf who... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Just Jules
5.0 out of 5 stars Just completely brilliant
What a laugh this is. It is exactly the sort of story that you'd expect, vampires and Victorian ladies worrying about hats. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining steampunk
Gail Carriger has created a fun and exciting new twist on otherworldly creatures in a steam punk environment. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sisalka
5.0 out of 5 stars great
bought these for a present and the recipient loved them would recommend any vampire/twilight type fans to go for these
Published 15 months ago by happyshopper
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