A Recent Book Breakup | Soulless by Gail Carriger

Prior to my Monday review of Little is Left to Tell, my Jon had so lovingly informed me (twice) that the last time I published something on Books & Tea was May 24, which was nearly three weeks ago. First, I didn’t realize he was such a consistent reader of my blog. Second, I blame it on my recent book breakup with Soulless by Gail Carriger.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Released: October 2009
Publisher: Orbit
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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?

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so devastated to not finish a book. Especially since Soulless by Gail Carriger seemed to have many characteristic that I adore in a novel. A strong female main character with a keen fashion sense and an affinity for tea…lots and lots of tea. Strong steampunk vibes and Victorian London’s high society. A narrative voice that is snarky and kind of pseudo-pretentious (I wish I could write like that!). Dreamy and awkward Lord Maccon, who just might be the only werewolf worthy of a swoon.

And yet it took me a month to read 150 pages of the novel (and that might actually be a generous estimate).

Library Loot 4-2

I so desperately wanted to finish Soulless that I forbade myself from reading any of the other library books I had borrowed back in APRIL, which ultimately means I had to return the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater unread (along with Mosquitoland and the Wrath of the Dawn, blast it!).

It was the thing that impressed me the most upon cracking open the book for the very first time that wore me down– the voice. The snarky, pseudo-pretentious voice that made me snicker in my office during lunch time. After a while it just became tedious. It seemed to slow the book down a lot because it took the narrator– prone to digressions and such– forever to convey what was happening.

Also…vampires. Vampires are kind of lame, but that’s my fault, not Gail Carriger’s. I was aware that I thought vampires were lame when I borrowed this book, but you never know when you’ll read a book that will challenge your initial (or long-standing) perception of an idea. After all, I enjoyed Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handleland, which was a bit of a double whammy for me– vampires AND a steamy romance.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to read a book by Gail Carriger, either. Last year, I tried reading her Finishing School series, and I couldn’t even get past the first chapter, though at the time, I assumed it was because I wasn’t really in the mood to read a young adult novel. Perhaps that’s not the case after all? I’m not entirely prepared to give up on Gail Carriger yet though. She has another series set in the same world called the Custard Protocol, and it has piqued my interest. I’ve read that the writing is even more flowery, which means I will probably suffer through 150 pages before giving up again, but…there is something so irresistible about a dirigible adventure to India.

Have you read the Custard Protocol? Is it worth checking out?

9 Comments on “A Recent Book Breakup | Soulless by Gail Carriger

  1. I feel your pain. I almost never break up with books but I recently had to break up with two at the same time! I was reading the one and it was something that I recognized as Very Good, but god damn did it just wander all over before getting to any kind of point. So I added another book to the mix and went back and forth between them. This is often successful for me when the issue is that I like a book but it’s too heady to sit down and read for an hour.

    Anyway! I ended up disliking the second one two! I read over 200 pages in both and still had 300+ pages in each to go. So I said, that’s it! We should see other people!


    • Oh gosh! Those sound like long books! I mean, I love long books, but I don’t think I would have the patience to try to tackle two at the same time (especially after trudging through 200 pages). I think I would just get discouraged. Whenever I struggle through a novel, I have a tendency to pick up a shorter or “fluffier” one, which I feel like I’m more likely to finish because it’s a “easy” read (that’s not always the case because “easy” doesn’t always mean enjoyable, ya know?).


  2. Aw man. That’s unfortunate. I’ve recently found each book in the bargain bin of my bookstore so I bought the first 3. It’s been getting so much high praises, though! Now I’m worried, because I’m not a fan of steampunk. At. All.


    • Honestly, I think Steampunk was more an aesthetic for this story rather than a main theme. It read more like a…comedy of manners with zeppelins and saucy werewolves.


  3. I’m sorry you didn’t like this one – but I have to say you’re a better person than I, I usually don’t give second chances to authors who disappoint me the first time.
    Yeah, the style of her writing is pretty unique, so I guess it’s a hit or miss. I have only read Soulless and liked it a lot, so I’ll be continuing with the series, but I can’t tell you anything about the other series.
    I hope you’ll have better luck with your next reading choice! 🙂


  4. That sucks. There is nothing worse than persevering with a book and still abandoning it. Sometimes books just aren’t meant to be and it’s so hard to accept that isn’t it? I always end up doing silly things like this because I always blame mood reading for me not enjoying a book, and it can be, but it makes it so hard to tell when I just genuinely don’t like a book. I’m impressed you’re willing to give Carriger another shot (a third one).

    I remember it took me a while to get into Soulless but I ultimately enjoyed it. I do think Carriger’s writing may be a bit divisive, though. It’s probably not for everyone.


    • Speaking of second chances, I almost…almost feel like I want to pick Soulless back up later this year. Either my gut is telling me I will appreciate this novel if I just give myself a little break and return to it when there are less distractions in my life, or this is just how badly I wanted to enjoy this novel. Why can’t I just cut my ties?!


  5. Aww, I’m sorry to hear that this didn’t work for you! I really loved this series, but nothing’s for everyone 🙂


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