Author: Gail Carriger
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, steampunk
Quote: “Miss Alexia had been born without a soul, which, as any decent vampire of good blooding knew, made her a lady to avoid most assiduously”
Setting: Past – Victorian London
Premise: Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of etiquette.
Gail Carriger has one of the most unique and absorbing author voices I have ever read. Her books are an absolute joy to read as every line is so beautifully, yet hilariously executed that you could turn every sentence into a quote. This story is set in the same world, but at a slightly later time, as Carriger’s Finishing School series, with just enough periphery character cross overs to let you recognise the world engine whilst changing the setting completely.
The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, has the unique skill of removing the undead curse that creates the vampires and werewolves of this world. She’s also a Lady and when she’s not fighting vampires for a treacle tart, she’s fighting the patriarchal social construct that scolds the aforementioned fighting as being ‘un-ladylike’. I love Carriger’s series exactly for this premise. She takes the enforced femininity of the Victorian era and weaponizes it to the point where even I want to wear a carriage dress with a bustle, fleetingly at least.
The themes of this book, and series, are about remaining true to yourself, even in the face of animosity and doubt. Alexia, our protagonist is strong-willed and very definite in her beliefs, but she’s challenged at every turn. The good thing about this book is whilst there’s obviously vampires, werewolves, and outrageous frivolity over afternoon tea, the relationships and issues that the characters face resonate really well with real life.
I hit this series straight after finishing the Finishing School series in an attempt to hang onto this world for longer, and I was not disappointed. The switch in characters and change up from the YA vibe to adult fantasy actually meant that I enjoyed this series even more than the first, something that I don’t say very often as I tend to get overly attached to characters! I loved this series and I hope you do too!
You’ve heard enough about how much I like this book, but is this book you’re hunting for?
1. Do you need a good laugh?
2. Are you in the mood for some vampires, werewolves, and a soulless protagonist in Victorian London?
3. Do you want something that is ‘just a bit different?
If you answered yes, yES, YES! Then this might well be your next favourite read!