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Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger I don't really think I've ever come across a book quite as quotable as Soulless, and right from the start it had me in a combination of giggles and "oh, I'm so going to have to remember that line" - it was a pattern that started very early on ("a vampire, like a lady, never reveals his true age") and continued right to the very end (I cannot post the quote as it is both spoiler and possibly NSFW). For all the dark and dreariness that does appear in a world populated by vampires, werewolves and London fog, this is a very humorous book with a great many wonderful lines. The best humour, naturally, comes from the interactions between Alexia and Lord Maccon, who are already familiar with each other, and his dislike of her at least somewhat relates back to an incident with a hedgehog - don't worry, folks, we do find out what the hedgehog incident actually was. And if you're a fan of UST between people who don't quite get along, you'll be more than happy to know it's absolutely dripping with the stuff.

Carriger has done a lot of clever world-building when it comes to her paranormal steampunk London, and the many people and beings who live in it. The organisation of this Victorian society populated by supernatural beings is well-displayed, with the relevant information coming out at the right time, and not being dumped on us all at once. Every author puts their own twists on the concepts of vampires and werewolves, and while for the most part she sticks to standards she adds her own flare to things - like how vampires have influenced fashion and the like (pale, my dears, is very much in). But the thing I like most is the concept of preternaturals, their historical role and their own unique abilities. It's quite fascinating, and I'll be keeping an eye out on how Carriger develops the concept in future novels - in the meantime though I was more than satisfied with how it went in Soulless.

There were two things that niggled at me, and which kept Soulless from reaching the full five stars I would have given it otherwise. The first was the name-jumping: in one paragraph a character would be addressed by title and surname in the narration, and then in the next it would just be the first name. Then it would go right back to the first way and continue jumping all the way through the novel. This mainly occurred with the main character, but other minor ones were similarly afflicted, and it made for a whole lot of distractions, thus taking me much longer to get into reading the story fluidly.

The other niggle was the repetition of some aspects. As I was reading along I was constantly reminded that Alexia was half-Italian and olive-skinned and was curvy and didn't have a tiny nose and that was Not Good in her world. I can understand that it was important as it marked her as different and odd in an outward sense (as her own preternatural abilities aren't something you can just see), but after a while it got frustrating enough for me to want to yell back "I KNOW!" when that repetition came up once again. Fortunately that lessoned over the course of the novel, but it was still very frustrating.

Apart from those two things, Soulless was an incredibly fun novel, and I'll be looking forward to May to read the next one, Changeless. In the meantime, if you like novels such as Pride and Prejudice and the Sookie Stackhouse novels, then Soulless might definitely be the book for you.