Soulless by Gail Carriger
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Blameless by Gail Carriger
May's Review: Aristocrat Alexia Tarabotti is an oddity in 19th-century London where werewolves and vampires walk side-by-side ordinary humans. Simply put, she has no soul and her ability to negate supernatural powers makes her both highly desirable and dangerous. Furthermore, her beauty is somewhat conventional, she tends to be "mouthy" and she prefers the company of werewolves over vampires (flamboyand Lord Akeldama is the exception).
Soulless, which is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series, introduces Alexia as she is about to kill a vampire with her parasol at a party. From then on, the story features almost non-stop action as Alexia teams up with Scottish werewolf packmaster Lord Conall Maccon, to solve a mystery. To be honest, the mystery was unmemorable compared to the all-too sizzling chemistry and highly satisfying romance that develops between Alexia and Conall. The witty dialogue between the two characters was simply entertaining and just made me fall in love with this steampunk romance.
In Changeless, Alexia's and Conall's romance has lead inevitably to marriage. Luckily for the readers, married life has not dampened Alexia's or Conall's tendency to attract unwanted attention and danger as they travel to Scotland to unravel the mystery of why supernaturals are losing their supernatural power. Interesting family dynamics are on display while Conall is forced to deal with his old Scottish pack that he abandoned years earlier. Like the previous book, this book also features a plethora of secondary characters who constantly threaten to steal the limelight away from the leads. Still, there is huge twist at the end that throws a huge obstacle in Conall's and Alexia's path that reminds us that romance is at the heart of the story.
However, while Soulless and Changeless were wholly satisfying, I did find Blameless a little lackluster. Part of the problem is that there is very little interaction between Conall and Alexia. Another problem is that the secondary characters were too many and too uninteresting at times that they were more of distraction rather than an aid. Whereas the first two books worked as a terrific steampunk romance, I considered the third book the throwaway to help set up the next books in the series. However, I would still recommend the book only if you loved the first two books in the series and want to see where Carriger is going with Conall's and Alexia's romance.
For those wanting read alikes, here is a brief list of some steampunk romances:
* Crimson & Steam by Liz Maverick
* Iron Duke by Meljean Brook (Click here to read my earlier review of this book)
* Steamed by Katie Macalister
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
May's Review: I have this book down on my to-read list for quite sometime now but as soon as I read that Publishers Weekly named it one of the best romance books of 2010, I knew I wanted to read it now.
The story is somewhat simple. With the help of the "Iron Duke", England has finally beaten back its Mongol overlords who have ruled the island for the past 200 years. However, England is still not safe from its many enemies including those who resent Rhys Trahaearn, the iron-boned pirate-turned-military-hero-turned-aristocrat. A body is dumped onto the duke's estate from an aircraft and the officials send in Detective Mina Wentworth to investigate the murder. But Mina has her own set of problems. Because she is half-Mongol, she does not have an easy time being accepted by the English populace and often has to walk around with her own personal bodyguard. Racing across zombie-infested lands and kraken-filled oceans, both RHY and Mina will have to learn how to put aside their differences to solve the case.
This book does work as a really intriguing steampunk tale combining science fiction elements with an alternative universe. I found mystery of the tale to be so-so mainly because it was overshadowed by the many explicit sex scenes. When I say explicit, I do mean explicit. In fact, I had to re-read certain passages because I think the hero's actions in a few of the sex scenes could be somewhat misconstrued as non-consensual. Anyway, the action sequences move fairly quickly with enough suspense to keep the reader riveted to the mystery at hand. This is a dark political tale with tons of grit. A good read for those liking their heroes extremely macho and their heroines to be the self-sufficient and resourceful type.