Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Soulless, by Gail Carringer

This one was recommended to me by the_gneech, and was marvelous. It's supernatural steampunk alternate history mystery romance, and blends the subgenres together well. The male protagonist, Lord Maccon, is of the "gruff arrogant powerful handsome" archetype. (You know, while I do like this archetype, I really wouldn't mind seeing more humble, sweet and unimposing male protagonists. Maybe this is why I keep wanting to see Alan as the romantic lead in the Demon books). The female protagonist, Alexia Tarabotti, is of the "nosy clever strong-willed young-but-a-spinster attractive-but-not-in-the-standard-way" archetype. I see these archetypes a lot, but Carringer carries them off with charm and -- more importantly -- humor. The plot is serious, but there's a fair amount of wit and jokes at the expense of Victorian social behavior. So I am mostly forgiving her for having her protagonists dislike each other at the start. The characters, especially some of the supporting cast, are quite endearing. I'll give it an 8. (Deductions for some of the contrived situations for the purpose of having her protagonists grope one another, and a mystery that was serviceable but not exceptional.)

I think I will explain my rating scale in this entry, while I'm here. I use a 1-10 scale because I find that on a 1-5 scale, I pretty much only use 3 and 4. I am not particularly trying to be objective in the numbers: this is "How much fun I had reading it". So books that suit my tastes well are going to get a higher rating than ones that use tropes that make me cringe, even if both are well-written for what they are.

1-4: Most likely, I'll never use these. Anything that doesn't rate at least a 5, I probably won't finish and most likely won't write up even if I do.
5: I am not sorry that I read it, but not impressed either. Had some enjoyable parts but didn't seem well-done and/or relied heavily on tropes that I don't care for.
6: I liked it, but still felt underwhelmed.
7: Pretty good, but perhaps flat in parts -- maybe using tropes I don't like, or uneven writing, or lacking in a certain sparkle.
8: Solid, definitely enjoyable, well worth reading.
9: I loved it. Could find fault with it if I put my mind to it, but nothing that significantly marred my enjoyment. This is probably the highest rating I'll use.
10: I loved it and can't think of anything that could have been done better. I can be awfully nitpicky, so I'm unlikely to ever use this.
Tags: book review, books, review
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