Soulless by Gail Carriger-I first heard about this book from Jennie at Biblio File, and I'm going to suggest you go there to read her review because A) I agree with everything she said, B) I think she probably did a better job of it than I would and C) I'm SOOO behind on my reviews right now. I need to wrap this up quickly and move on!
I will give you a couple quick snippets to give you an idea of why I liked this book. Okay, so Alexia Tarabotti is a young lady without a soul in Victorian London. Also traipsing about London are vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and supernatural creatures of that sort. They have been completely integrated into London society-think "True Blood" but with more respect from the general public.
At a party one evening Alexia has a run in with a vampire who doesn't play at all by the standard rules of society. He just attacks her. Without even asking! As a result this unfortunate being meets his demise.
The creature stood stock-still, a look of intense surprise on his handsome face. Then he fell backward onto the much-abused plate of treacle tart, flopping in a limp-overcooked-asparagus kind of way. His alabaster face turned a yellowish gray, as though he were afflicted with the jaundice, and he went still. Alexia's books called this end of the vampire life cycle dissanimation. Alexia, who thought the action astoundingly similar to a soufflé going flat, decided at that moment to call it the Grand Collapse.
I love that she is cool enough immediately after a vampire attack to not only objectively observe and analyze the vampire death process but to give it a name that is just more fun to say. As part of the ensuing investigation by alpha werewolf, Lord Maccon, and his second, Professor Lyall:
Alexia interjected, "He seemed perfectly sane to me--aside from the attacking part, of course. He was able to carry on a decent conversation. He even tried to charm me. Must have been quite a young vampire. And"--she paused dramatically, lowered her voice, and said in sepulchral tones--"he had a fang-lisp."
Professor Lyall looked shocked and blinked largely at her through the asymmetrical lenses; among vampires, lisping was the height of vulgarity.
Although Professor Lyall is a werewolf, he is not a beast. He is quite aware of the delicate sensibilities of those around him.
While the population of the greater London area, in specific, and the British Isle, in general, had learned well enough to accept werewolves on principle, to be faced with one engaging in the act of conversion was an entirely different matter. Professor Lyall considered himself rather good at the change--elegant and graceful despite the pain. Youngsters of the pack were prone to excessive writhing and spinal gyrations and sometimes a whimper or two. Professor Lyall simply melted smoothly from one form to the next. But the change was, at its root, not natural. Mind you, there was no glow, no mist, no magic about it. Skin, bone, and fur simply rearranged itself, but that was usually enough to give most daylight folk a large dose of the screaming heebie-jeebies. Screaming being the operative word.
Finally, there is Lord Akeldama, a very old, very gossipy vampire with a flair for fashion, whom I couldn't help but picture as Austin Scarlett, ("Project Runway," Season 1 contestant and designer of beautiful clothes). I don't have any quotes for him, I just enjoyed the idea of Austin Scarlett running around Victorian London as a vampire.
I have the next book in the series, Changeless, on hold at my local library, and I'm very excited because the last time I checked (which was about a week ago), they didn't even have it yet. So, yay! Maybe by this time next year I will have read it and reviewed it.