I had a conference to attend yesterday. Luckily I took my Kindle, because they served breakfast. For an hour. Having no desire to waste so much time just eating, I started reading, too. Of course I just got to the point where Alexia was kidnapped by a creepy wax homunculus simulacrum (automaton) and was about to be strapped to a table for experimentation(!) when I had to pay attention to the sessions I had signed up for. There's always something interrupting our reading time, isn't there?
When I got home I immediately dived back in to find out what happened. It was all quite creepy and bloody (the wax man bled old, black, dirty blood. Sounds like he needed a tune up.) All turned out well for everyone but the bad guys, which is right and proper. A very satisfying ending in more ways than one.
Since I loved the writing, I'll finish with favorite lines of two buddy readers.
nospin: "A gaggle of dandified young men passed by. All were decked to the height of fashion: three-buttoned swallowtails instead of frock coats, knotted silk cravats, and high collars."
DBTEdward: "The long curling yellow ostrich feather swished back and forth like the tail of an angry cat—the motion of her disapproval. Only Ivy, thought Alexia, could emit censure in such a sunny and fluffy manner."
Remember how I wished the cover model would stand up straight? I got my wish!
"Miss Tarabotti stood, back straight, glad for once that she had an assertive figure: tall enough to tower over every one but Lord Ambrose and Dr. Caedes."
There are three things I really like about this book.
1. The important information is dispensed slowly. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a few pages into a book only to find myself so confused I had to reread the beginning over and over to try to understand all the information. Authors, why make it hard for us? Slow down. You have a whole book to tell us what you want to say. Stop crowding it into the first few pages.
2. There aren't a gazillion characters to keep track of. Many authors include too many people in their books. Save a few for the next one. Soulless has three main characters, a few secondary ones and a handful of minor players. So much better than finding myself constantly wondering, "Who is that? Where did he come from? I don't remember her!"
3. Creative writing. That's really what it's all about. It doesn't have to be forced, just an interesting way of saying something. For instance, I've read many books where the female heroine bats her eyes. I know this because the author told me she batted her eyes. Ms. Carriger tweaked it a tiny bit and made me laugh.
"Miss Tarabotti nodded and looked at the earl with wide innocent eyes, imitating Ivy as best she could. It was harder than one would have thought. “The countess gave me tacit permission to involve the government at this time.” Bat, bat, bat, went the eyelashes."
Good writing is just that easy. And just that hard.
Let's talk about this cover. What is the deal with the awkward posture? The parasol is significant, but every time I look at the way she's standing I want to yell, "Please, lady. Stand up straight!"
In Which Parasols Prove Useful
"Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire."
The story starts off with action and hasn't let up yet. I'm at 25% and really enjoying the fact that the pertinent information about this world (Victorian, Paranormal, Steampunk) is revealed as the story progresses. It's a completely new type of book for me, but I'm catching on.
Vampires, werewolves, a soulless female, Queen Victoria and lovely writing:
"She was not, as one might suppose, obliquely referring to the vampire attack. Miss Tarabotti was not one of life’s milk-water misses— in fact, quite the opposite. Many a gentleman had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice— that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation."
Buddy Read: http://booklikes.com/thread/351/buddy-read-soulless?p=0