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Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Book Number/Goal: 8/10 for 2012
My Rating: 2/5

Amazon Summary: 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?

Review: I saw these books talked up so much on my friends list that it got me curious, but I think had I read the reviews a little more closely, I would have realised that they were Not For Me. All I really knew was supernatural! steampunk! female protagonist! And for some reason I didn't make the connection that it was a paranormal romance... A lot of people on my flist love paranormal romance, but everything I have seen about the genre has just been utterly unappealing, and this book did nothing to change my mind in that regard. All the tropes of "ooh powerful alpha male beast man" just...gag. Not for me, thanks.

And speaking of tropes that are not for me, I really am picky about vampires and werewolves, and this book was just chock full of all the things I don't like in such stories, from the terminology to the "pack" and "hive" dynamics of werewolves and vampires, respectively. I found Alexia's soullessness to be vaguely interesting, but not enough to make up for the annoyingness of other tropes.

Also, the writing itself was just really not my thing. Exposition and epithets abound, as well as constant switching between people's names (for example, Alexia goes from being referred to as Alexia to Miss Tarabotti from sentence to sentence, and the same with other characters). And so much telling. I did not need to read paragraph after paragraph where Alexia and Lord Maccon think "why do I feel this way, I hate him/her!" and stuff like that.

It was very slow-moving for most of the book, though it did finally catch my interest towards the end (last 100 or so pages of the ebook, so maybe last 50ish in print) when all the excitement was happening and the pace picked up (which is my only reason for bumping it up to two stars; I had been planning on giving it one up until then). But this is really a romance with light trappings of mystery when I would have preferred the latter.

Oh, and this is just a small thing, but I just couldn't get behind the use of preternatural as an antonym of supernatural. They mean the exact same thing!

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