Soulless, volumes 1-3 by Gail Carriger and Rem: Review

Soulless, volume 1 by Gail Carriger
Title: Soulless, volumes 1-3
Author: Gail Carriger, Rem (Illustrator)
Publisher: Yen Press
Series: Soulless
Reason for Discovery: I love Gail Carriger's Soulless series.


The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn't an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is "soulless" - a preternatural bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a rove vampire, an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed! Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her, but it may be the man who has caught her eye - Lord Conall Maccon - and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit's end!

As you might have noticed, I have really enjoyed Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series. They are fun, steampunk-y, and a wee bit cheeky at times. Last year, I acquired all three volumes of the manga series, Soulless, and read them within a weekend, but I never discussed them. I decided that I should rectify that this year! :) Please note that this is a review of the manga, not the stories themselves.

A few words of housekeeping, before I discuss these three books. Each volume of Soulless is a different book from the Parasol Protectorate series. Soulless volume 1 is Soulless, Soulless volume 2 is Changeless, and Soulless volume 3 is Blameless. Carriger announced on her blog last year that this is end of the Soulless manga run, and Heartless and Timeless will not have their own volumes. Carriger stated that she feels the first three books make up a nice trilogy and that the other two books can be considered stand alone stories within the universe. Although I am sad that Heartless and Timeless are not going to be included in the set, I do understand that each of these books is a huge undertaking and most series do not get three of their books turned into graphic novels.

As I stated earlier, I am a big Carriger fan and these three books are just so much fun for the Soulless fan. I enjoyed being able to see Alexia's world in visual form and I didn't have to do all the work with my imagination. Because these books have a lot of dialogue, I thought these stories were easily translated to the manga form with little difficulty. At times, I felt that the books were being translated word for word into graphic novel form in a very fluid way. I should note that these books are drawn in the manga style, so the ladies, Alexia in particular, are quite busty. Also, there are a small handful of cells with characters wearing very little to no clothing (hair and scenery artfully cover parts that need covering). Keep in mind that this is an adult romance series, so the artist is not making these scenes up. At the same time, the drawings are a bit cartoon-y, so nothing every feels super graphic, at least in my opinion (your mileage may vary).

My one concern about these books is one that can't really be helped. I noticed in all three books that a few scenes/explanations were cut for the sake of space. There is a lot of story to cram into each of these books, so I understand that not everything could be jammed into these books. The only time that I was a smidge bothered was in Blameless; however, I didn't feel that anything major was missing from the story. With that said, I am very familiar with these books, because I have read them many times, so I don't know, if any of the details of the story would be confusing for new readers to the Parasol Protectorate universe, especially with the cuts. I think these books would be fun for people who haven't read the books but enjoy manga; however, I would encourage people to also read the books as well.

I am quite happy I got these books simply for the rereading factor! Before I could only read one Parasol Protectorate series book per day. With the manga, I can easily read the first three books in one day when I need my Parasol Protectorate fix. I give these books a 5 out of 5.

5 out of 5

16 comments:

Nathan (@reviewbarn) said...
January 10, 2014 at 7:18 AM

I remember blushing fairly heavily during a late scene in Soulless. Not sure I would want to have someone see me looking at that scene in picture form. Still, very nice when the comic lives up to the text. I have seen a few instances where that is not the case.

Pabkins said...
January 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM

I'm having a hate relationship with graphic novels from book series for some reason - I'll give these a try maybe perhaps BEFORE I read the books since I haven't even read a one yet. I'm so bad I really need to read one of her books! I'll add it to my 2014 series challenge!

Chene Sterckx said...
January 13, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Where there is a Gail Carriger book.. Pamela is sure to find it! *Just teasing*
I think this is one author I really do associate with you though :) I haven't ever tried a graphic novel, maybe I will give it a shot when my schedule calms down a bit :)

Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...
January 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

I've only read the first one so far, I'm thinking I might read the actual books before I read vol 2 and 3...just so I know what I'm missing before I go into it. I was really surprised to see how condensed the first one was but I agree they are quite good.

Kimberly said...
January 14, 2014 at 12:29 AM

I really have to read this series of books (and now the mangas because I love a good Manga as much as the next girl). Hopefully I can pick Soulless (the book) up from the library the next time I go.
-Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:12 PM

There is a fairly steamy scene late in the book that had me blushing when I was reading the manga. I wouldn't want someone to peek over my shoulder while reading this series!

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:14 PM

LOL. I would read the book over the manga. I really like them for when I want to reread the series, and I want to be able to read them all in a day.

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:14 PM

I might be a fan of Gail Carriger. Possibly. Perhaps. :)

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:15 PM

Yea! :) They are so much fun.

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:16 PM

I would read the books first. You are right, they get really condensed. I think these are great for your rereads. :)

Pamela D said...
January 14, 2014 at 11:18 PM

I hope you can! These books are fast and fun reads.

Alysia @ My Little Pocketbooks said...
January 21, 2014 at 7:21 PM

I read Soulless and really enjoyed it too! I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series (hopefully) this year.

I have never seen this cover. Cute!

Pamela D said...
January 22, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Soulless is the strongest in the series, but I still love the other books. Make sure you have book 3 around when you read book 2. You will want to start it immediately!

Alysia @ My Little Pocketbooks said...
January 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Thanks for that. I am reading Divergent right now and I think I need to get the other three books because I need to know what happens.

Pamela D said...
January 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I am glad that you enjoyed Soulless. The Parasol Protectorate is one of my favorite series. This cover is for the manga version of the books.

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