Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series #1)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate Series #1) - 3.5 StarsAn intelligent and cheeky parasol wielding spinster (26 years old) bucks the conventions of Victorian era in this creative steampunk tale about London's integration of supernaturals. The tension between lead characters develops through opposition of gender and natural powers. Like in species of nature, one is the great equalizer of the other. This is achieved through witty humor and playful, but intelligent banter. I loved the relationship between characters and was drawn to their individual personalities, embracing each fully. The setting and incorporation of sci-fi/fantasy including all the steampunk gadgets was just enough to allow me to picture, but not overwhelming in detail. Sometimes, authors in this particular genre have a tendency to get carried away with technical jargon and description -- for me, Carriger gave me enough to create my own mental setting without banging me over the head with cogs and steam. Interestingly, this story flows on two separate levels and I can understand why it would be added to the Read This Next book or nominated for book club discussions. On the surface, it flows as an easy read with humor, sexual tension, exciting characters and adventure. Below and woven within the details, action and banter twist together with sub-themes and present deeper questions relating to extermination, natural scientific balance of poisons and antidotes, world power, governmental control and regulation, gender roles and sexuality. For more discussion about sub-themes or if you'd like to comment, please jump over to the