By Gail Carriger
Orbit, 2009. 373 pgs. Science Fiction
Alexia Tarabotti, a 25 year old spinster, hasn’t got a lot going for her. She and her entire family have all but given up her ever finding a man to marry her, what with her naturally tan skin, large nose, and propensity to enrich and speak her mind. What her family does not know is that she also lacks a soul--making her a preternatural, a rare being with powerful influence over supernaturals such as vampires and werewolves. One werewolf in particular, Lord Conall Maccon, finds himself constantly butting heads with Alexia and soon discovers he doesn’t mind the confrontations at all.
This book is a great introduction to the steampunk genre with aspects of romance, mystery, comedy, and supernatural fiction all mixed together. Both Alexia and Conall are fun characters to follow and the plot easily sweeps the reader up into this alternate version of Victorian London. This is the first installment in The Parasol Protectorate series and readers not wanting to acquire a new guilty pleasure may not want to risk being hooked.