Tag Archives: Gail Carriger

the Blameless review

I didn’t review Changeless because it didn’t make all that much sense to me as a novel. I mean, it did but it didn’t. Clear?

I enjoyed reading it, but I couldn’t really figure out what it was about. The whole book seemed to be about the last chapter, which lead into this book – and reading Blameless confirms that. It’s like Part II. The more satisfying part.

Sort of.

I gushed about Soulless because it was such an oddity – a new, fast-paced, funny steampunk novel with some pretty cute world structures. By the third book I’m starting to figure out what keeps me-as-a-reader always hanging about on the fringes of Carriger’s world.

The stories are, first and foremost, farce. She does farce very well and it makes for a funny, enjoyable read. But it doesn’t invite you much deeper than the surface.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, by the way. Farce is the province of the greats – Shakespeare, Wilde, Wodehouse, Heyer. (haha, my definition of greats…) And in a way it does make the poignant moments punch a lot harder, because they are in no way overworked, and they come from left-field.

The style also suits Carriger’s heroine, who is without a soul and takes things head-on, without sentiment.

But where Soulless had the structure and emotional journey of a romance novel, books two and three don’t. It was fun to read about Lord Maccon getting plastered on formaldehyde, but it making him ridiculous to that extent kind of ruins him as a romantic hero.

There were some developments I really enjoyed in the novel, though – things that dipped a little below the surface into complexity and emotional intrigue. Professor Lyall plays a big part, and finds himself in a complicated – but very interesting – position by the end of the book.

And Lord Akeldama, though playing a mostly absent figure, arrives with more of a punch than his usual entertaining role.

Overall, these books are worth reading and enjoying, but I’m not consumed by the need to devour them as I read. Which is possibly a good thing.

the Soulless review

it’s harder to write a gushy review than a sceptical one, so let’s see how I go with it…

First: I read this book because so many people had told me to read it and Gail Carriger‘s agent is Kristin Nelson, who I wanted for an agent (more on that later). Then once I saw the book covers, there was no way I wasn’t going to read them. So brill!

(On that note, here’s a cool video that design geeks will enjoy, that will also give you a snippet of an idea of the world of The Parasol Protectorate. (Come on! Just the name is enough to make you wanna read it, right?)

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Second: “Alexia tried to explain that the vampire’s supposed inability to enter private residences uninvited was a myth based upon their collective obsession with proper social etiquette, but her mother refused to believe her.”

I think the book speaks for itself.

The world is Victorian England. But also steampunk. And it also has vampires and werewolves.

Alexia is vulnerable and headstrong and impeccably polite in all the right ways and the very best thing about her is that she’s a force to be reckoned with without also being incredibly annoying – which so many strong-willed heroines are, I find. Which is sad, because then I end up almost siding with the society that’s trying to put them back in their place. Not Alexia, though! She doesn’t waste time on people who disapprove of her.

There are mad scientists, a delicious werewolf-Scot, a ditsy best friend and an airhead family. I particularly loved Lord Akeldama, who’s her übercamp vampire friend. His outfits are ridiculous and brilliant, he knows absolutely everything, surrounds himself with lovely, pretty boys and I don’t think he ever calls her by the same endearment twice.

In the extras at the back of the book, Carriger sites P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen as two of her literary influences. The mixture of these two styles gives a pretty accurate idea of her writing. Not to suggests it’s not unique, because I think she has a very strong voice all of her own.

But it’s definitely got a lighter, more satirical touch than any other romance novel I’ve read, showing the influence of Wodehouse, “The performing flea of the English language.”

At first I found myself slightly excluded as a reader by the style, but overall I think it serves her universe. The approach is so no-nonsense, that you end up taking it all as a given.

Erm…oh yes! I promised gushing.

I loved it! It is so much fun to read, very page-turny (which reminds me – it’s chockers with brilliant, invented words) and the characters are a riot to hang out with. (Did I just use the word riot?)

And the hero has very pretty eyes indeed.

I recommend you do yourselves a favour and get your hands on a copy.

read my review of Blameless here