6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes a novel full of everything wrong goes terribly, tragically right.,
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This review is from: Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) (Mass Market Paperback)
Soulless is heavily weighted down by trendy genre elements. In my experience, this usually leads to books that are poorly constructed, badly integrated, and the literary equivalent of a chess club stereotype wearing star-shaped sunglasses - trying much too hard to be cool.
Soulless should be like combining salmon and chocolate while I, in this metaphor, am an ichthyophobe with no sweet tooth. However, it appears that skilled chefs can pair salmon and chocolate. And sometimes a novel that's full of everything wrong can go terribly, tragically right.
Carriger's Victorian voice is sharp and funny. Witty observations provide a plethora of humorous clashes between action sequences and rigid etiquette. The descriptions of Victorian fashion are very nice for those readers with a weakness for bustles and lace, and I suspect I'm not the only one since the book is marketed with a Victorian dress-up doll flash game.
The main character, Alexia, is a fun and well-portrayed heroine, full of vigor and flaws. She, her friend Ivy, and their friendship are memorably captured in a few sentences: "Ivy Hisselpenny was the unfortunate victim of circumstances that dictated she be only-just-pretty, only-just-wealthy, and possessed of a terrible propensity for wearing extremely silly hats. This last being the facet of Ivy's character that Alexia found most difficult to bear."
Soulless is not a profound novel. It imparts no revelations about the human experience. I don't expect it will change anyone's life or that I'll remember the plot intricacies in ten years. But it was a fun, adventurous romp that diverted me for a few hours. I might even read it a second time. I will certainly pick up book two of the Parasol Protectorate and I look forward to meeting Alexia Tarabotti again in 2010.
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