I love to mix up my audio listens and Gail Carriger provided me many fun hours with her YA series. Now, the first in the Parasol Protectorate series is on the blog, narrated by Emily Gray. Please read on for my review of
Set in mid-Victorian London, Carriger’s Steampunk combines the best of historic references, fantastical inventions, and vampires with no concept of social norms! Oh- and a heroine who combines her penchant for description, snark and an attitude that is purely “Uptight Headmistress of Posh School”. Particularly laughable when Alexia Tarabotti is described as the perfect English Prig, if one overlooks her Italian side. Oh and she is – borderline rude, a bit superior and soulless, a preternatural being whose lack of a soul means that she negates the ‘extras’ of supernaturals with a single touch. For an example – the first encounter with the vampire who sets her attitude aflame by disturbing her quiet retreat from a ball to the library to eat some treacle tarts, her touch has the vampire believing he had ‘misplaced’ his fangs……
But, all is not simple in Alexia’s world, the vampire, after behaving in a most ungentlemanly way and sitting on her tarts is staked by her wooden hair stick, and before she can escape unseen, witnesses arrive and the authorities are called. When her false fainting episode is threatened by the investigation of Lord Macon and his erstwhile beta Professor Lyall as the story soon becomes a search for why a rogue appeared, attacked and was dispatched like a fallen soufflé. The BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry) has a problem on their hands, and it will be Macon, Alexia and Lyall who find the solution.
Narration for this story is provided by Emily Gray, and her performance managed to grab all of the underlying (and oft described) personality traits for each character with ease. From the slight affectations of Alexia to Macon’s hint of a burr, the voices fit the characters in ways unexpected without overplaying any single moment for emotional impact or overstating a point. The humor is presented without foreshadow, as are the more ‘tension filled’ moments, and the listen managed to capture the irreverence of the story without delving into the tones that would distract.
Carriger mixed an intriguing and all too human heroine: smart, determined, and self-directing, even as she struggled with the issues common to women in her time – and her desire to prove her family wrong by marrying – well and for love. Marcon’s werewolfiness and growly nature reinforces his very Alpha stance on all things, and it is clearly evident that Alexia intrigues and frustrates him in equal measure, making their slow growth to acknowledge their attraction and connection even more delicious. This won’t be the book for everyone – you have to enjoy a story that is quixotic and doesn’t take itself too seriously while maintaining sense of Victorian London and its people, all encountered in the search for the mastermind behind rogue appearances and attacks by vamps and werewolves. Take a chance, if you are a fan of Edward Storey-like tales and twists, you will find this fits that criteria nicely.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration: 4 Story: 4
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Also in this series: Changeless , Blameless, Heartless, Timeless
Genre: Science Fiction / Steampunk, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Narrator: Emily Gray
Published by: Hachette Audio, Orbit
Published on: 26 September, 2017
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 48 Minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
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 the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series: a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.