Soulless by Gail Carriger Here is a nice genre-busting book, first in a series: in an alternate England, the success of the empire is due to their reliance on help from vampires and werewolves. Our heroine is Alexia Tarabotti, a soulless spinster, whose early quest for treacle tart at a ball is interrupted by the sad necessity of having to kill a very rude vampire. The BUR, the agency for the regulation of supernatural beings, of course investigates. This is headed by an irritating if attractive werewolf by the name of Lord Maccon. To the fantasy, we may add comedy of manners with romance a la Jane Austen (if a bit spicier). Miss Tarabotti’s spectacular parasol weapon and the overt presence of dirigibles add a steampunk twist. From a library reader’s advisory standpoint, this book has something for anyone willing to read speculative fiction: appealing characters, a fast-moving plot (where are all these uneducated and poorly dressed vampires coming from?), an intriguing and well-detailed setting, and witty writing. This comes recommended not only by me, but by my love and the famous Nancy Pearl. Do go read it, and let me know what you think.
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