Author: Gail Carriger, Rem (Illustrator)
Publisher: Yen Press
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.