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From the Archives: Books 8 & 9: "Soulless" and "Changeless" by Gail Carriger

 
Books 8 & 9: "Soulless" and "Changeless" by Gail Carriger
"Souless" and "Changeless" by Gail Carriger
Verdict: If you like urban fantasy* READ THESE!
Okay, these two books are parts one and two of a trilogy* (Part three, "Blameless" to release this September) and I LOVE them. The entire series works off of the balance principal; if an extreme exists there, must be an opposite, and applies this theory to the supernatural. In these books, the supernatural are creatures with an excess of soul. So to become werewolf, vampire, or ghost the person that is being turned must have too much soul as a human or they will not survive the transformation. Since these creatures of too much soul exist, by theory, there must be a creature with no soul, or a preternatural. Thus bringing us to the main character of our story, Alexia Tarabotti. Alexia Tarabotti is soulless. As such, when she makes physical contact with any supernatural she acts as a neutralizer and removes any supernatural abilities. For example; when she makes contact with a Vampire, they regain mortality- can be in sunlight, etc. When she touches a werewolf, even while they are in wolf form, they instantly return to their human form.

The series is set in Victorian England, these books are a new take on the supernatual and preternatural (soulless) condition. The setting is fairly accurate with some liberties taken on the inventions of the time to fit in with the characters and plot, as well as the alteration of society by the prominent presence of supernaturals in it. Unlike most urban fantasys, the supernatural of this story are not hidden from society but are actually active members, with people aware of what they are.

Alexia Tarabotti is a scientist, intelligent and strong, not to mention an eclectic person. She carries a parasol with her at all times, that she usually uses as a weapon. She came to be this way because of her lack of soul. In a creative way to leave no plot holes, Carriger explains that since Tarabotti learns she has no soul, her soul cannot be in peril. She therefore decides to use knowledge and logic to determine her moral ideals. She falls in the love with a werewolf alpha and has best friends that are vampires. She also becomes a part of the supernatural advisory council to England's queen. In short, she is highly amusing, and very interesting to read!
The language of these novels made me fall in love instantly, it has been a long time since such an extensive vocabulary appeared in a modern novel of this type. Truly, I loved it.

My one issue was the ending of second book, which I will not spoil for you, but it really really really made me angry, I almost threw the book. "Blameless" had better remedy it quickly or I'm not sure how long I will read it.
Anyone who loves classics, love stories, and urban fantasy will love this book! If you don't have an extensive vocabulary, keep a dictionary handy, but believe me it's fun and interesting to read- so don't let that deter you!
 
Updated information
* I have since learned that this is Steampunk. In fact, it was the first Steampunk series I read.  While it does still fit the urban fantasy genre, it is above all, Steampunk.
*There are actually four books, it is the Parasol Protectorate series, not a trilogy and it is one of my favorite series, so I stand by my initial suggestion, read these books!
 

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