Some time ago I stumbled upon information about steampunk. I’m not entirely certain now what it was that first brought that to my attention, but as a historian, I was intrigued. The Victorian Era is also referred to the Industrial Age and the Golden Age, depending on who you talk to and what exactly you’re talking about. Depending on your social status, the era could have been awesome in terms of the new technology and the ability to freely travel or it could royally suck with terrible work and health conditions. And forget about being a woman in that day and age.
At any rate, I was intrigued, but it took me a while to try out anything. Because I’m sort of new to the steampunk genre, I’m not entirely sure if these books qualify as steampunk or just as historical fantasies.
First up: Soulless by Gail Carriger. I was drawn to this because the main female character doesn’t quite fit into the typical urban fantasy female lead mold. Sure she’s tough, self-sufficient and speaks her mind (much to her mother’s horror), but she’s described as dark, swarthy, large-nosed and plump. She’s not lithe, fit, svelte, atheletic etc that most of the female leads I read about are described as. It’s a nice change.
Soulless mixes steampunk, romance and fantasy by talking the soulless character of Alexia Tarabotti (an English lady of Italian descent) and crossing her path with the alpha werewolf of Lord Conall Maccon (and his pack) and vampire Lord Akeldama (a lovely unconventional vampire). Alexia and Maccon have to solve the mystery of why some vampires are mysteriously disappearing before things get out of hand (terrible summary, I know but I read this one a while ago. Sue me). Alexia is, as many of my favorite characters are, a wise ass. And she’s not afraid to use it. Or her silver and wood reinforced black parasol, her favorite accessory.
The follow up to Soulless is Changeless. Alexia and Maccon, (SPOILER ALERT) married after the end of the first novel, have to solve the mystery of why members of the London pack (Lord Maccon’s pack) have suddenly stopped being able to change into werewolves. It leads them all the way to Scotland, to Lord Maccon’s original pack, who also cannot change. Things don’t end too well for the married couple, sorry to say. Not that anyone important dies, but still, Gail Carriger leaves us hanging on that. I haven’t gotten the third book Blameless yet, but Christmas is coming in a couple months, so we’ll see. I highly recommend both the fist two books, A.
Next post: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooke