LO-VED. What other way of starting a review like this one? I won this at a giveaway on The Book Lovers INC blog, with a US$ 10 credit on the Book Depository. A Steampunk-ish romance, with a strong heroine, vampires, werewolves and lots of humor it was all I wanted! It took around 45 days to get here and when it got here, I had other books I had to read and review before, so it was here for like 2 months before I got to it, but I finally managed to read it during my short one week vacation... And went crazy! Why didn't I read it before? I could've asked both sequels for Christmas! Now I have to wait until #4 is out, in June, or I'll finish #'s 2 and 3 and then # 4 is out and I'll want that one too... You know how it is.
Well, to the story! Alexia Tarabotti is a spinster, on Victorian England, she's a 26 (or 28? I forgot!) years old unmarried woman and, actually, her mom never tried to get her a husband, because she's Italian-like - strong will, high taste of food, dark-ish skin and a large nose - making her mom actually give up on finding her a husband, before she even started looking. But there's something her mom doesn't know: Alexia is a Preternatural, a Soulless person that, because of that, can anull a supernatural's powers. Vampires lose their fangs, strength, even their imortality when she touches them. Werewolves go back into being normal people, even during the Full Moon.
Oh, of course, on Victorian England (and there's the steampunk-ish factor of the book) vampires and werewolves are accepted in society and both "Hives" (vampire groups) as Werewolves Packs follow government rules. One of the very interesting factors is that it is very hard for them to turn people into vampires and werewolvers, specially women and only female vampires (Queens, like bees) can turn people into vampires.
The story starts with Alexia killing a vampire. It's something slightly accidental, he attacked her, without knows what she is - which is strange by itself, sinde the "BUR" Supernatural Things Unit (can't remember the proper name) keeps a registry about her and all supernatural beings on the region and inform hives and packs about her - and she defended, of course, with her umbrella (specially made, with a silver tip).
On the male side, we have Lord Maccon, a werewolf, chief of the Supernatural Bureau, pack of the London area Pack. Stubborn, manly (oh so manly), strong, sexy, stubborn... Did I mention stubborn? Strong, hot temper. He likes Alexia, of course, but they argue all the time, from the beggining to the very ending of the book. Actually, one of the reasons that he kisses her the first time is to make her shut up.
There's a misterious mistery (oohh) happening, loner vampires and werewolves (who have no hive or pack) are disappearing, while others, disoriented, uninstructed, hungry, are showing up. And, of course, that`s a major issue.
Oh, yes, Lord Akeldama, a gay vampire (yes!) is ALL GOOD. He's one of the best characters. He's Alexia's friend, against Lord Maccon's wishes - who, actually, doesn't approve much of anything Alexia does.
Alexia is, like I said, stubborn - as much as Lord Maccon -, witty, funny and loves her parasol (some sort of unbrella made for the sun, bsasically). Something you clearly notice on the book is the difference between the characters that are naturally from England and those from elsewhere. Maccon is Scotish, what makes him "less civilized" among the English and Alexia's blood is Italian, while Maccon's Beta (Lyall) is english and a perfect gentleman, delicate, polite, discreet, like Alexia's butler, who's always around but's very discreet.
Soulless is not a Young Adult novel, as the main characters are adults and there are pretty spicy scenes. Actually, all the way spicy, if you know what I mean... It touches some politics, prejudice, some history, and the language - at least the original book - is quite complex, I had a hard time with some words and expressions.
I hope it gets published in Brazil soon, I know lots of people who would LOVE this series and is missing on it, I'm dying to recommend it for everyone, but I understand how complicated it is for most people to read in English a book of this level - lots of strange expressions due to the time frame of the story and british English, which makes it a quite complex book.
Hearless, the fourth on the series comes out July 1st, 2011. Second and third are Changeless and Blameless, all with the most wonderful covers ever.
You can buy Soulless with free shipping worldwide at the Book Depository: Soulless