Alexia Tarabotti is an unusual young woman in Victorian England. She is a spinster, half-Italian, and soulless. She finds herself in quite the predicament when she is attacked at a ball by a vampire. He didn’t know that when he touched her he would not longer be a vampire. The soulless, throughout history, have used their powers to hunt vampires as well as werewolves and exorcise ghosts. When the vampire was rendered powerless, she instinctively stabbed him with her parasol, which unfortunately was quite the social gaffe. Luckily, Miss Tarabotti’s arch nemesis Lord Maccon arrives. Every time they are around each other they end up rubbing each other the wrong way. He is a werewolf and member of an organization, BUR, who investigates happenings such as this. As Lord Maccon investigates, Miss Tarabotti does the same since she has quite a fine mind and doesn’t hesitate to use it. Things get quite complicated as vampires start appearing just like the one who attacked her as well as established vampires disappearing. Miss Tarabotti and Lord Maccon are determined to get to the bottom of this. Will they discover the culprit in time and their feelings for one another?
My synopsis doesn’t do this delightful novel justice. How do you summarize a plot that is deceptively simple but in execution is a joy to read. Soulless is of the steampunk genre; my first foray. But it is a gentle introduction as most of the book is quite like a historical romance/mystery with a few elements of scientific advances. Miss Tarabotti is similar to your typical bluestocking spinster; outspoken and accepting of her odd soulless state. But as you get to know her, you come to care about her as her practicality masks a tender heart. The sparks really fly when she is around Lord Maccon. Their interactions sparkle with wit and fire. The attraction between them is as combustible as hot lava and gasoline. Miss Tarabotti’s silly, shallow family is a wonderful contrast to her sensible nature and intelligence. I read this book in small increments, doling out this charming book to prolong the experience. I would highly recommend this book to lovers of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and historical romance. It is the best of all those worlds combined! Like I need another author on my auto-buy list but I am so thrilled that a second book is already slated for release next year. Look for Changeless in March of 2010.
Book Blurb for Soulless
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 a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
Night Owl Reviews