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Review: The Parasol Protectorate Series , Gail Carriger

Submitted by on October 19, 2010 – 4:00 am8 Comments

The Parasol Protectorate Series books are comedies of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea. They are either Jane Austen doing urban fantasy, or PG Wodehouse doing steampunk. Soulless, Book the First, came out October 2009 and Changeless, Book the Second, in March 2010 and is a New York Times Bestseller. Blameless was released September 1, 2010 from Orbit US. Heartless is due out July 2011, and Timeless in the Spring of 2012. 

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring 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 is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced! Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and 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? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

the Parasol Protectorate series has long been on my TBR list. I’ve heard so many good things about it, that really, it’s a wonder that I haven’t read it before now. After reading many tweets on how marvelous the series was, and being told to go. read. now. – I did.

Well, Alexia Tarabotti is now one of my favorite heroines. How can you not enjoy a series that makes you laugh out loud while keeping you gripping the edge of your seat? How can anyone not love the world that Gail Carriger has created? First of all, steampunk rocks. I am entirely in love with this genre – Victorian elegance meets modern invention? Perfect. 

This is such a fabulous series, it includes wonderful characters, fantastic plots and imagery that will have your imagination doing cartwheels of joy. In Alexia’s world, Victorian London has long been the home of the supernatural, they have been living out in the open since around the reign of Elizabeth I, and taking an integral part in British society. With vampires and werewolves even having special representatives to Queen Victoria herself. Even fashion and etiquette are influenced by the supernatural – high collars to hide bite marks, and curtsies with head to the side so bite marks can be noted with ease. Every small detail is taken care of.

, introduces us to the series. Carriger divides her world between those with excess soul, who make the best supernatural candidates, like vampires and werewolves, and if the person of excess soul has died without joining one of these two supernatural groups, possibly a ghost. Then there are those with a “regular” amount of soul – just your mundane everyday people, but once in a while, someone very special comes along – a person born with no soul – soulless, who has a very special ability, they can cancel out supernatural powers.

Miss Tarabotti has been hiding her soulless (preternatural) state from everyone, including her family. In fact the only people that know are the Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), part of the British Civil Service, and of course, that means Lord Maccon – werewolf, Alpha and all around thorn in Alexia’s side… in a good way.

Alexia may be soulless, but she doesn’t lack heart, warmth or character. While the story remains constantly humorous you can still relate to the characters on an emotional level. Alexia’s insecurities, which she hides so well, her feelings for a certain alpha, and his feelings for her…The chemistry between the two is simply divine.

Then there are the supporting characters, or really, as they should be called, ‘the characters who need to get their own books’. Each and every one of the characters in this series is written with an artists touch. Alexia’s appalling family, her friend Ivy, and Ivy’s awful hats (really, they might be a character all on their own), Lord Maccon’s beta; Professor Lyall, Alexia’s butler, and of course, the most stylish vampire that ever was, Lord Akeldama. More and more characters join the crew as the series progresses, and they each add something to this story. I’m sure you too will find yourself quoting them on occasion.

As for the plot – I’m not telling! But each book has it’s own plot but the series also has a plot that unfolds a little more with each and every book. Do not under any circumstances make the mistake of not having near by once you finish . You will thank me for the tip, seriously!

It is so hard to focus on just a few things I liked about these books, I could go on and on about it. The wit, the intelligent banter between the characters, the fact that the heroine never lets you down. There is an entirely new universe to explore when you start reading the Parasol Protectorate, one with endless opportunities that and I can’t wait for the next installment, so that my exploration can continue.

The series starts with a bang, and never lets you go. Each book is more thrilling than the last. Remember – this series is meant to be taken with more than a dollop of humor – it is light, incredibly witty and an absolutely brilliant read.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Noa purchased the Parasol Protectorate series.

The Parasol Protectorate [Steampunk]

Soulless – October 2009
Changeless – April 2010
Blameless – September 2010
Heartless – July 2011

For more about Gail Carriger and for lots of behind the scenes into the Parasol protectorate series, visit:
| Website | | Blog |
Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
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