So if I was a lazy blogger I would probably just link to Raych’s post here and sit back because everything she says is absolutely right. But I do have stuff to say about this book and so will ignore my laziness and do the blogging thing.

Alexia Tarabotti has no soul (hence the title), which only a few select people know (and that doesn’t include anyone in her family). This lack of soul makes her unusual even in a Victorian society which accepts the existence of vampires, werewolves and ghosts. It also means that she can neutralise the supernatural abilities of others simply by touching them, which comes in pretty handy (pun unintentional).

The great fun of this book is its tone, which is very arch (to use an old-fashioned phrase). Actually, I could go further than that and say quite honestly that the novel is basically hugely enjoyable tosh. It has all the necessary elements:

  • feisty heroine who knows more than everyone suspects but whose talents aren’t recognised;
  • the handsome hero with whom she spends the whole story fighting but you just know she’s going to end up with him in huge romantic moment at some point;
  • sidekicks with varying levels of acceptability;
  • a nefarious plot which could represent the end of civilisation as it is known; and of course
  • the obligatory evil, twisted genius who must be stopped at all costs.

Oh, and because of the period in which this is set, an appearance by Queen Victoria herself.

I just loved it; not great art by any means but an indulgent, steampunkish romp which passes the time very pleasantly. I already have (and fully intend to read) the sequels.