Published October 1st 2009 by Orbit
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.This is perhaps one of the most witty and charming books I have read in a long time. It has a toe in so many genres it is quite impossible to say precisely what category it falls into. I would lean towards calling it a paranormal historical romance with a trifling of steampunk, a genre which I have no familiarity whatsoever. I have been extremely disappointed by the vampire and werewolf books I've read so far, and this one is truly something else. Wonderful prose, butt-kicking (in a most ladylike fashion) heroine, and a very entertaining romance.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? - Book Jacket
All of the characters in this book are amusing to say the least. There is a large array of distinct personalities that just jump off the page. Alexia Tarabotti is a woman like no other. She is stubborn and never has a qualm about speaking her mind, and in the nineteenth century, that isn't very proper. Of course, the brooding werewolf love interest, Lord Conall Maccon, is dark, mysterious, gruff, and most definitely hunky (or at least I assume he is) . I am not really a fan of romance as it usually borders on the ridiculously unbelievable in terms of compatibility and context, however I find the relationship between Alexia and Lord Maccon to be absolutely delightful.
I have to admit, that I wasn't a big fan of the main storyline. It follows Alexia as she attempts to investigate the disappearances of rove vampires and werewolves. Basically, she sticks her nose where it doesn't belong and gets in lots of trouble for it. I felt that in between all the wittiness and the many clever jokes and innuendos strewn across the pages, the main story got muddled, at least through the first 3/4 of the book. When the mystery did come to a head, with Alexia and her preternatural powers at the center of things, it was extremely exciting. I felt there should have been more of that element through the book than there was. I do think that the budding romance between Alexia and Conall did interfere with the mystery aspect and it made it feel like reading two stories squished together. Perhaps I wasn't prepared for this book, because it was such a new style. I will most CERTAINLY be continuing this series and I am really hoping that the adventures take center stage next time.