Alexia Tarabotti finds it terribly inconvenient to happen upon a thirsting vampire while she herself is simply starving at an ill-hosted party with few victuals. She quickly dispatches the vamp with her parasol, a handy weapon that has saved her many times. Of course the vampire was no true danger to Alexia, who, as a rare preternatural without a soul, restores mortality (and therefore vulnerability) to such supernaturals as ghosts, vampires, and werewolves with a single touch. These supernaturals co-exist with humans in an alternate Victorian London in Soulless by Gail Carriger, the first of the Parasol Protectorate series.
The true tediousness of the vamp encounter is that Alexia is forced to explain the whole affair to Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey and Alpha of the local werewolf pack. Lord Maccon seems to bring out the worst in Alexia, and she in turn brings out his Scottish brogue and famous temper. However, it looks like they will be working together for the time being, as they discover that vampires are disappearing from hives all over the London, and Alexia is suspected as being responsible.
Soulless is a tremendously fun read for lovers of steampunk and paranormal romance. The unique alternate historical setting and society with integrated supernaturals are intriguing. Carriger is a master at building the romantic tension between the equally hard-headed Alexia and Lord Maccon and playing with it in delightfully naughty ways. A highly recommended romp that will assuredly bring you back for the second in the series, Changeless. To explore Alexia’s world further, see the author’s Web site here.