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Soulless by Gail Carriger

by Felicity Banks (follow)
My book and short stories are available at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LouiseCurtis
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Gail Carriger is the New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series, starting with "Soulless". This is the manga version. It reads just fine with no prior knowledge of the series - although of course novels have more depth, and comics have the whole new dimension of art.

If you don't like manga art, you won't like this. It's an excellent example of the style - beautiful, wide-eyed characters with unlikely physical proportions. Naturally the incredibly lithe, feminine male (or indeed female) characters are perfectly expressed, but those characters who actually should look male - bulky and hairy and strong - look about as masculine as Legolas. I happen to like pretty men, so I didn't mind. Given the popularity of manga, there are plenty of other comic readers who feel the same.

There's something about manga that is incredibly consistent. I've never seen a manga that didn't look lovely (or that managed a traditionally masculine-looking character). If you've never tried manga, this is a great place to start. It has all the benefits and limitations of the art form, with a Western-style plot to ease you into its conventions.

Alexia is a spinster (well over - gasp! - twenty). Worse, she's half Italian. Worse still, she's a preternatural - soulless - meaning that she is immune to the effects of vampires and werewolves. In this world, supernatural humans have social roles as clearly defined as any other. Of course, not everyone obeys the rules.

This is a brilliant steampunk series in another form.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Published: 2012

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