The Compulsive Reader: Reading Rants: Tea, Parasols, and Wit...What's Not to Love?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reading Rants: Tea, Parasols, and Wit...What's Not to Love?

I usually try to keep this blog pretty YA focused, but every so often I read an "adult" book that I just love so much or is just too good not to share. And in this case, it's three books, all by the lovely and charming Gail Carriger. Her Parasol Protectorate books are simply divine. I ranted about the first book, Soulless, back last fall, and I loved it so much that I immediately shelled out the money for book two, Changeless.

Well, then a sad thing occurred. Life got in my way and refused to let me read it, being generally obnoxious as life sometimes is. I made lots of excuses and kept promising myself to read it. Yes, someday. Someday soon, because Ms. Carriger really is too funny for words. But Changeless sat there and sat there until finally I was in a reading slump and the back cover made me laugh so hard I (quite indelicately) inhaled my tea, and that was that.

All I have to say is, praise God for Amazon.com Student Program. And free two-day shipping. Because despite anticipating the time at which I would finish Changeless, I still did not order Blameless fast enough. And that was an ugly, sad day and a half, let me tell you.

Basically, Alexia Tarabotti is one of the most engaging, entertaining, and delightful heroines I've ever read. Ms. Carriger has this amazing talent for maintaining such a proper and polite tone throughout all of her books, no matter what is happening, but yet it's almost as if you never stop laughing for a single moment. For those of you who haven't had a chance to check out the books before, the series is about a (young) spinster, Alexia Tarabotti, living in 1870's steampunk London. She is very unfortunate socially because she is part Italian and soulless, which means she can render any supernatural being mortal by simply touching them. This makes her very fascinating to the vampires and scientists of her world, and very frustrating to Lord Maccoon, a werewolf and head of the Crown's supernatural agency.

The books are undoubtedly "adult", yet I can see where many YA readers can and have enjoyed them. (For anyone worried about content out there, when I say they are "adult", I mean that the characters are all adults and there is some sex. Not tons--I hate books in which the romance and sex dominates everything, but there is a little in each book.) Soulless could do very well standing on its own, but they story continues in Changeless and Blameless quite well, and doesn't get bogged down with the romance. There's an excellent plot and eccentric characters in each book, and the overall series continues to develop quite well. The only thing that's making me sad about the whole series is that book four, Heartless, doesn't come out until June, and then the final book, Timeless, won't arrive until 2012.

Nonetheless, if you are a fan of dry humor, tea, the paranormal, and steampunk, you really, really need to read these books!

(Plus, they're cheap paperbacks, and if you buy off of Amazon.com, they're eligible for the 4-for-3 promotion...which means you can buy the first three and get the fourth book for free when it comes out!)


Charmaine Clancy said...

The book cover art is amazing on these, I saw the clips on Youtube of the graphic designer creating one of the covers - lots of work. :-)

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Me too! Love this series. Although, I'm not a fan of the Heartless cover, blah! But I can't wait to read it!

Donna Gambale said...

Same as you, I LOVED Soulless and bought Changeless immediately, but I still haven't read it. Now I'm DEFINITELY reading it ASAP. Thanks for the push!

Anonymous said...

ABSOLUTELY ADORED THIS SERIES. :D I can't wait for the next one to come out.

Maggie said...

I loved Soulless, and didn't realize there were more books in the series (I knew about the sequel, but not the others). yay! It also reminded me a bit of Patricia C. Wrede's dragon series, something about the independent heroine, style, I can't quite put my finger on it, but that is a good series as well.

h.m.resch said...

I've found it difficult to find time to read anything in the past year or so, but I made time to chow down on these books. I even managed to read Soulless twice! And when Heartless comes out, everything will be put on hold for a few days as I devour it as well.

The Compulsive Reader said...

I agree, I don't quite like the Heartless cover as much as the others. Something about the hair and the hat just doesn't look like Alexia. But, they did a good job at making her look pregnant or not pregnant depending on your point of view, which is a good thing as you don't want the cover to be a major spoiler!

Exchange Host said...

Lovely series!