Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series #1)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series #1)

by Gail Carriger


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Buffy meets Jane Austen in the first book of this wickedly funny NYT bestselling series about a young woman whose brush with the supernatural leads to a deadly investigation of London's high society.

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 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? 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 the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

The Parasol Protectorate

For more from Gail Carriger, check out:

The Custard Protocol

Finishing School (YA)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Manners & Mutiny

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316402415
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Series: Parasol Protectorate Series , #1
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 111,900
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London.

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Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 789 reviews.
enticed More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! Bought it yesterday, finished it in a couple of hours later. LOVED THIS BOOK
BBandReveries More than 1 year ago
Alexia Tarabotti is the daughter of an Italian-making her tan, assertive, big-nosed, and curvy. Unlike her mother and half sisters, she also happens to be soulless (the preferred term being preternatural). After being attacked by a rove vampire, Alexia is forced to uncover the mystery behind recent vampire and werewolf disappearances. In doing so, her relationship with the alpha of the London werewolves, Lord Maccon, intensifies in every way. I loved this book. Gail Carriger does a fantastic job twisting the paranormal into steampunk Victorian England. This satire is filled with great characters, an interesting plot, and lots and lots of tea. The protagonist, Alexia Tarabotti was born a preternatural, or without a soul. By simply touching a vampire or werewolf, she can rid them of their supernatural abilities, or turn them human. This only works if she is physically touching them; as soon as she removes her touch, they are back to their supernatural state. Lord Maccon arrives right after Alexia kills her attacker with her parasol. He is a Scottish alpha werewolf who finds Alexia to be a pain in his-well, you know what I mean. Lord Maccon grows deeper feelings for Alexia-or rather, he comes to realize his deeper feelings for her throughout the first half of the novel. He is accompanied by his Beta, Prof. Lyall. Even though Prof. Lyall is a werewolf, he is the opposite of Lord Maccon. Where Lord Maccon is rude, primal, and a bit wild, Prof. Lyall is well-mannered, civilized, and tame. I loved Lord Maccon. I really enjoyed reading the banter between him and Alexia. The story is set in 19th century (steampunk) Victorian England. This novel had me laughing out loud. Alexia, like everyone else at that time, is obsessed with manners and proper etiquette. To her, the end of the world would occur when it ran out of tea. However, she does realize the absurdity of her family and how they judge others. Alexia's family reminded me so much of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice. There were also some similarities between Alexia and Elizabeth, not tons, but definitely some. I would highly recommend this book. Warning: there is a sex scene, kissing, some nudity, and a bit of blood.
MrsPeel More than 1 year ago
I will be honest and say that the cover art drew me to this book, however, once I began to read I could not put the book down. Ms. Carriger has provided an ingenious alternative to the usual supernatural romance. It is a combination of period piece, supernatural romance and intriguing mystery all rolled up in one delightful book. The characters are FANTASTIC and all well developed -- Alexia Tarabotti, Lord Maccon, and especially Professor Lyall with his futuristic scientific know-how, and Lord Akeldama is charming and witty. I look forward to reading all of the Alexia Tarabotti, Parasol Protectorate series of novels.
Yvette4 More than 1 year ago
This series has been in my TBR pile for too long. I purchased the series after reading so many positive reviews. I admit I didn't really believe it would be this enjoyable. I am happy to admit that I am now a firm believer. Miss Tarabotti is a great character and well before her time. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I only wish I had started it earlier. If you like competent women who are funny and brave and smart, then don't pass this up.
terilhack More than 1 year ago
This is a new author and I am impressed. I really enjoyed the writing style and the characters are great! I love the prudish aspect of the characters and the nonchalant attitudes. I enjoy a good vampire stabbing via a parasol, since those things come in handy! This was a great read and I cannot wait for the upcoming two books to polish off my evenings at home. I can't even wait to read it through again.
theokester More than 1 year ago
This book was initially intriguing to me for a number of reasons. Primarily it sounded like an interesting new twist on what seems like a stale/copycat world of paranormal fiction. It takes place in early 20th Century England with a steampunk feel to it (which I almost always find fun). It involves a fun dynamic between vampires, werewolves, society at large and political intrigue. It creates a new set of rules for interactions between the supernatural community. And it presents a new (at least to me) kind of heroine in the character of Alexia. Overall, I was fairly excited to read this before I even opened the book. The first chapter did a great job of maintaining my interest by throwing me right into the action while at the same time developing the unique characters and relationships that really drive this novel. I quickly got a sense of the style and mannerisms of Alexia as well as of her supernatural 'counterpart', Lord Maccon, the head of the supernatural investigative/police force (as it were). Rather than drown us with facts and history, the author does a great job of showing off the dynamics with small explanations that keep us engaged. As the story progresses, the narrative throws in twists and turns that really make for an interesting plot. There were a few segments that dragged a little bit for me but generally the writing and the story were engaging enough that I could deal with the occasional monologue. Once we got into the heart of the novel, the details were rather curious. There were a number of isolated events that created intrigue and mystery. As the tension grew and the action grew closer to Alexia, the mystery really heated up. There were a lot of elements that had me wondering as to the overarching plot and the involvement of certain characters. As we progressed into the climax, I was rewarded in linking the involvement of one of the peripheral characters, which always feels nice when unraveling a mystery. However, there were a number of new and unusual elements that came as a big surprise. Sometimes too many revelations can be unsettling, but I felt like the presentation here made up for "pulling the rabbit out of a hat" near the end. The nature of the mystery and the setup of the plot allowed for the level of secrecy that presents grand revelation. My general complaints about the book are really fairly minor. First, I felt that "parasol protectorate" was a clever name, but the parasol was significant in its absence rather than its use. Second, the sexual tension in the book was good throughout, but the semi-graphic sex scene (PG-13, but still) at the end caught me off guard and I would have preferred continued indirect presentation. Third, and most significant to me, I never really felt truly invested in Alexia. It may have been personal preference, but I just had a hard time getting attached to her or even feeling like I really knew her. The author did a great job fleshing her out, but I never really made the leap to full investment. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and look forward to future stories. There are a number of significant elements that leave me curious and hoping for resolution as time goes on. Give it a try. <br> 4 out of 5 stars
VT_RAP More than 1 year ago
Ready to "grow up" from Twilight? This is not Jane Austin or Mary Shelly, but if you are ready for more vampires, werewolves, a bit of steamy romance, and decent plot twists, go for it! Great read for the beach and as a scientist, I loved the twist on the "evil scientists" as the uber-conservative guardians of "true humanity." I really got into the "altiverse" feeling: yes, this is London and late 1800's but it isn't quite our London! I am not sure I would encourage this for the pre-teen set, the romance goes "in flagrante delicto," so maybe parents should read/scan before handing off to the younger set.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The idea of a "funnier" paranormal books was intriging and it turns out, the book is really good, too. I would recommend, especially if you are into paranromal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because it looked different. What a fun read! Even my husband read this and enjoyed it. For a few hours of escape you can't beat this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all four books in this series and enjoyed them all. The stories are interesting, fast paced and full of twisty turns. There's plenty of intelligent humor, witty dialogue & even a bit of romance. This was my first journey into steampunk and I found that aspect captivating, very Jules Vern.
iVallari More than 1 year ago
I love this series. I love the characters and how she writes them and i love that it's a fun read and its something to get lost in when you get tired of reading ordinary romances and paranormal books.
VoraciousReaderVB More than 1 year ago
One of the BEST books that I have read in quite a while! Very funny and well written - the characters are rich and comical!! I cannot wait for the next one to come out!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining, funny, romantic, and mystery. It was hard to put aside once I started reading it. Can't wait to read the sequel.
MeganLee More than 1 year ago
I bought this book after reading a recommendation from a website. Totally glad I did. This was fantastic. I loved the humor, I loved the characters, I loved the relationship between the main characters and I just loved everything about this novel. I needed a change of pace from my normal vamp romance and this was the perfect solution.
TWBarton More than 1 year ago
Even if your not a fan of vampires or werewolves you must read this book. Half way through the first chapter and I was just not sure about this book or my chances of finishing it. It seemed that I was seriously going to have to break out my Webster's dictionary and dust off the 19th Century Etiquette book but by the end of the chapter I was totally hooked. I went from thinking I was not going to finish the book to putting this in the top five of my favorite series and authors. Any description I give will in the end not do it or the authors writing the justice it deserves. I just cannot say enough about this book. Gail's writing is so masterful especially given the time period she uses for the characters. In fact I loved this so much I immediately searched and found that there was a box set of the series that I bought even though I already had the first book. If the rest of the books are even half as good as this one it will be money well spent. This particular story is not really about the story line in my opinion but really about the characters that are brought to life in this book. The author manages to bring these fantastic characters to life with seemingly little effort. How can you not love Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Conall Maccon? Just the visuals that the author is able to bring to life in the minds eye is amazing. Who can help but picture the various ensembles of Lord Akeldama? or picturing the long suffering looks from the veritable butler Floote? There is just so much more to this particular book that for me it is not about the story line but about the characters and I am OK with that. The characters of this series just beg to be brought to life on the screen. I would love to see this series on TV. I cannot imagine that it would not be a instant hit especially with the emergent popularity of the Victorian period and vampires and werewolves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think I have read this book 4/5 times now and I find it as enjoyble now as I did the first time. It was an easy read with fun descriptions and a brilliant cast. I love the world she created and wish I could spend a great deal more time there. While I enjoy all the books in this series, this is by far my favorite.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 1874 Alexia Tarabotti expects to remain on the shelf as a spinster for eternity due to being too smart, too sassy, too assertive, and too strong and not very pretty. Her mother agrees and has written her daughter off in terms of finding the bluestocking a spouse; she focuses on her other younger but docile and prettier daughters. Alexa has one other minor difference that has her standing out from her siblings; she has no soul. She is leaving London for Glasgow, but being soulless makes her special. She not only cannot be turned into a vampire or a werewolf like other mortals although most die rather than are changed; she can remove the paranormal power from a supernatural albeit for a short time by touching them. Perhaps her only adversary since mom gave up on her is Lord Maccon, the chief of the Bureau of Unnatural Registry who consistently finds her and her parasol getting past his werewolf hair to his suddenly overly abundant heart and soul. This is an entertaining Victorian urban fantasy that smoothly but excitingly merges vampires, werewolves, and related laws and government agencies into late historical England. The story line is fast-paced albeit a bit thin as Gail Carriger focuses on creating the landscape in which Maccon and Alexa live. Still fans will enjoy the spin as Ms. Carriger provides a delightful historical fantasy that gives new meaning to a bloody good fantasy. Harriet Klausner
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4 Set in mid-Victorian London, Carriger’s Steampunk combines the best of historic references, fantastical inventions, and vampires with no concept of social norms! Oh- and a heroine who combines her penchant for description, snark and an attitude that is purely “Uptight Headmistress of Posh School”. Particularly laughable when Alexia Tarabotti is described as the perfect English Prig, if one overlooks her Italian side. Oh and she is – borderline rude, a bit superior and soulless, a preternatural being whose lack of a soul means that she negates the ‘extras’ of supernaturals with a single touch. For an example – the first encounter with the vampire who sets her attitude aflame by disturbing her quiet retreat from a ball to the library to eat some treacle tarts, her touch has the vampire believing he had ‘misplaced’ his fangs…… But, all is not simple in Alexia’s world, the vampire, after behaving in a most ungentlemanly way and sitting on her tarts is staked by her wooden hair stick, and before she can escape unseen, witnesses arrive and the authorities are called. When her false fainting episode is threatened by the investigation of Lord Macon and his erstwhile beta Professor Lyall as the story soon becomes a search for why a rogue appeared, attacked and was dispatched like a fallen soufflé. The BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry) has a problem on their hands, and it will be Macon, Alexia and Lyall who find the solution. Narration for this story is provided by Emily Gray, and her performance managed to grab all of the underlying (and oft described) personality traits for each character with ease. From the slight affectations of Alexia to Macon’s hint of a burr, the voices fit the characters in ways unexpected without overplaying any single moment for emotional impact or overstating a point. The humor is presented without foreshadow, as are the more ‘tension filled’ moments, and the listen managed to capture the irreverence of the story without delving into the tones that would distract. Carriger mixed an intriguing and all too human heroine: smart, determined, and self-directing, even as she struggled with the issues common to women in her time – and her desire to prove her family wrong by marrying – well and for love. Marcon’s werewolfiness and growly nature reinforces his very Alpha stance on all things, and it is clearly evident that Alexia intrigues and frustrates him in equal measure, making their slow growth to acknowledge their attraction and connection even more delicious. This won’t be the book for everyone – you have to enjoy a story that is quixotic and doesn’t take itself too seriously while maintaining sense of Victorian London and its people, all encountered in the search for the mastermind behind rogue appearances and attacks by vamps and werewolves. Take a chance, if you are a fan of Edward Storey-like tales and twists, you will find this fits that criteria nicely. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: al conclusions are my own responsibility.
pigsflyng More than 1 year ago
Well written, good plot, good personal interaction action scenes. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unique and captivating I could not put this book down, or the next, or the next. Worth the read especially if you are new to steampunk.
krystolla More than 1 year ago
This story contains what so many books of it's genre lack: wit. Smart and funny without being pretentious. I'd recommend this book to anyone and I'm seeking out the sequels immediately.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started out with the manga, and once I realized it was based off a novel, I simply HAD to read it. Two days later I finished the novel, it was so great that I honestly didn't put it down. I would recommend it for ANYONE.
BookReflections More than 1 year ago
Alexia Tarabotti stumbles into an intriguing mystery when she accidentally kills a vampire who is unaware that she has no soul.  Curious about this turn of events and hounded by Lord Moccan, Alexia sets off to discover what is going on with the paranormal creatures.  This is no easy feat when she must consider Victorian Age social norms and events.  Soon the paranormal creatures start disappearing and strange creatures come after Alexia and the stakes become much higher.  Together, Lord Moccan (alpha Were and head of the BAU) and Alexia are on a race to save the paranormal creatures. I just wrote about Alexia yesterday and I love love her!  I enjoyed the proper English appropriate for the time, but I also loved that she was the heroine dashing to save the day.  Well not quite dashing, but she is quick to jump into her carriage.  Lord Moccan and all the rest of the paranormal creatures all had their own personality and I loved their interactions with each other.  This was my first experience with steampunk and I didn't know what to say.  I didn't really notice the gadgetry but I loved the alternate historical account.  It was like learning about an entirely new world in a context that you understand.  I look forward to continuing this series. Overall, a great steampunk introduction with great characters and an intriguing mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It kind of just dropped you into the story. At first i just wanted give up on the story, but im glad i didnot. It was good after all.
srfeike More than 1 year ago
This was my first steampunk book, and I have to say I loved it. Set in the Victorian era, the story is about Miss Alexia Tarabotti, a sassy, independent, strong-minded woman, who happens to be soulless. Alexia is a definite laugh generator. She is quick witted and not afraid to speak her mind. Team her up with Lord Maccon, the rough, no nonsense werewolf sent to investigate a murder, which Alexia happened to commit, and you have a spirited, entertaining story. It took me a few chapters to get into the story simply because of the Victorian-era language. Once I got used to it, however, I read through quickly, enjoying the story and the humor, and the language added a great deal to the setting.