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Soulless
By Gail Carriger

Discussed October 2010

Buy from Amazon.com

Characters

Preternatural

  • Alexia Tarabotti

Humans

  • Ivy Hisselpenny: An intimate acquaintance of Ms. Tarabotti, and wearer of atrocious hats
  • Floote: The Tarabottis’ butler
  • Squire Loontwill: Stepfather of Alexia Tarabotti
  • Mrs. Loontwill: Mother of Alexia Tarabotti
  • Felicity & Evilyn Loontwill: Alexia Tarabotti’s half-sisters
  • Mr. MacDougall: An American
  • Mr. Siemons: A scientist

Werewolves & Clavigers

  • Lord Connall Maccon: Alpha of the Woolsey Pack
  • Professor Randolph Lyall: Beta of the Woolsey Pack
  • Tunstell: A Claviger

Vampires & Drones

  • Lord Akeldama: a rove, or independent vampire
  • Biffy: Lord Akeldama’s favorite drone
  • Countess Nasady: Queen of the Westminster Hive
  • Lord Ambrose, Dr. Caedes, Duke of Hematol: Members of the Westminster Hive
  • Mabel Dair: An actress and Westminster drone

Questions

  1. Did you finish the book?
  2. Did you like the book?
  3. Have you read other paranormal romances? Have you read Regency romances? Have you read other steampunk adventure comedies? How well does this book fit in its genres?
  4. Considering that this was a paranormal romance, what did you think of the relationship between Maccon and Alexia? Did it seem romantic? Believable? Well-written?
  5. There’s little overt gay content in this book, but the paranormal world is set up as even more homosocial than the human world, especially werewolves. How would the story be different if hives and packs were homosexual, as well as homosocial? Would that have an impact on the social status of vampires and werewolves, or would that sort of thing be interpreted as a sign of having an excess of soul? What if surviving the transformation was not a sex-linked trait?
  6. The soul theory of transformation, how well does it match the events of the book? Did you appreciate that, although a working scientific hypothesis was bandied about, it didn’t feel like a final explanation. It’s pretty unusual for the science or the magic of an SF story to not be fully understood by some of the characters, if not necessarily the protagonist. What did you think of this? Was it well-handled?
  7. Despite the fact that there are vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, there is no magic per se. What did you think of this? Were you waiting for wizards and sorceresses to show up, or did you enjoy the aether, etc?
  8. Class, ethnicity, and social standing were a big part of this book. What did you think about it? Was the author able to communicate the concerns of the English Regency period to a modern, American audience?
  9. What questions did I miss? Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?
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