Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Soulless1 Soulless
by Gail Carriger

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

Now, those who know me will know that I have little liking for much of what passes for urban fantasy these days – in particular that dire sub-genre we like to call "vampire schlock". So, when you find me reading a novel that is described as "supernatural romance" and enjoying it immensely, you can be certain that it’s something special. This IS a supernatural romance, very much so, but it’s also part comedy of manners, and part mystery, with a healthy dash of steampunk. Yes, dear reader, there are vampires, and werewolves, ghosts and zeppelins - and yet Victoria is still very much Regina. The author makes it absolutely clear that this is an alternate history, and unlike so many, she has put some thought into it, and given her world that internal logic essential to good fantasy, be it urban or otherwise. And what’s more, she spins a pretty fine sentence.

It begins when Alexia Tarabotti is accosted by a vampire at a private ball, and inadvertently manages to disanimate him with her parasol. Of course, the vampire should have avoided her altogether, for Alexia was born without a soul. So, the question is where did the hungry, and rather uneducated, vampire come from? Therein begins a tale… and the romance begins when Lord Maccon, Earl of Woolsley, and Alpha of the local werewolves, arrives to investigate…

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