Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book having never read a steampunk novel and not being overly fond of comedy of manners type books unless they’re exceptionally witty. Turns out I was hooked immediately by the author’s wicked sarcasm. Most authors try too hard to get the right mix of funny/witty/sarcastic and end up making their characters sound dumb but here it felt fresh and natural and was so unlike most of the bland and/or annoying stuff lining my shelves.

The book starts out with our spinster heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, taking out a rude vampire with her hair pin/stake. Then the arrogant Lord Maccon, a gorgeous werewolf, enters the scene and insists on questioning her about the vamps demise. Damn, all she wanted to do was to hide out in the library, drink some tea and eat a treacle tart in peace. I can relate. Now the treacle tart has been flattened by the obnoxious vampire and the tea has been spilled to and fro during the slaying and she’s being accused of murdering the ill mannered vampire by the ill mannered werewolf.

In this Victorian set world, humans intermingle with vampires, werewolves and the rare “soulless” humans who can negate the supernatural creature’s powers by touching them. Alexia is one of the “soulless”. She is confident and funny but doesn’t have the soft pretty looks that attract males but for some reason Lord Maccon, in all his sexy glory, can’t seem to keep his paws off her. The two become embroiled in a mystery of sorts and it’s a thoroughly entertaining journey.

This is fun book that is more humor than horror but I enjoyed it all the same. Alexia is a strong willed character who never strays into annoying or unlikable heroine territory and is a proper lady which makes many of the scenes all the more humorous. Her wit won me over from the beginning. The steam punk aspects were new to me but added a fresh otherworldyness to the whole werewolf/vampire thing that has been overdone of late. Lord Maccon with his sexy brogue and messy appearance and the strong cast of secondary characters (excepting the Alexia's direct family which were overdone stereotypes - ugh, disappointing) were brought to vivid life and weren’t there just to prop up the heroine.

Despite all of those good things this book wasn’t a quick read for me and it’s hard to pinpoint the reason. I think the old fashioned speak slowed me down. Words such as “incommodious” stopped me in my tracks and there were a bit too many adjectives everywhere. I loved the characters and the originality so I’ll definitely pick up the next one soon.