Miss Alexia Tarrabotti, a half-Italian spinster, also happens to be soulless. Unfortunately for the vampire who tries to attack her, this means that she negates supernatural powers, and his fangs effectively vanish when he touches her. But the vampire’s death by wooden hairpin sparks a whole investigation – why doesn’t he know what she is? Why doesn’t he belong to one of the hives, and if not why isn’t he registered anyway? When Queen Victoria sends in werewolf Lord Maccon to help the investigation, Alexia is caught up in a whirlwind of mystery and attraction.
I’m a little bummed that I didn’t like Soulless. It’s received so very many rave reviews, and it sounded perfect from the description. Since the second book is suddenly appearing on everyone’s wishlists, I figured it was time to read it. Unfortunately I found that the style felt contrived from the very first page. Normally I enjoy authors who write as if they were living in the time period, but it just grated on my nerves here. I also got annoyed at the author’s tendency to put a sentence about how the characters were feeling right before they spoke, because it was obvious that she didn’t need to tell us about it. The characters are often nodding or smiling as they speak – there must be a lot of sore necks in this world. And the repetition got to me, too. We hear often about how horrible it is that Alexia is half-Italian and has darker skin and a larger-than-average nose and curves and how terrible it is that her Italian father is dead. I guess it’s good that she’s a little bit different, but I got that at the beginning. In general because the prose was so odd and repetitive I found it impossible to lose myself in it and enjoy the story. It just all felt like it was done to mask a lack somewhere else, to make it stand out from the current crowd of paranormal romances. Others enjoyed this, so I’d suggest this was just me.
The mystery story was mostly okay, at least as historical urban fantasy goes, and I was interested to see what happened next. I’m not the most demanding in terms of plotlines, but I was entertained. I also really liked the world. It’s mainly a Victorian urban fantasy with some small steampunk elements, which I did think set it a little apart from the pack in a good way. This is one aspect I’d really like to see further developed. I really like all the genres contained in this book and an author who can combine them well is talented.
The romance, however, made zero sense. I could not figure out why the couple liked one another. Lord Maccon was interested in Alexia because she smelled good, mostly, or at least that’s all I can remember from what defined their relationship. I couldn’t honestly figure out why she was drawn to him. They didn’t seem to have any chemistry and their romantic interludes included a startling amount of biting, which I could have done without.
Anyway, the next book in the series, Changeless, is apparently going to include more of the mystery and less of the romance, which for once I actually think I will prefer. I’m not sure I’ll go out and buy it, but I will probably try and find it in the library. The author seems like she’s full of clever ideas and I would like to give the series another shot.
I am an Amazon Associate. I bought this book.