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Vladimir Nabokov, Craig Raine
Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger My dad and I have a bit of a disagreement when it comes to reading. He complains that I read too many of what I call easy reads or no brainers and what he calls stupid books. Just the other day, when I was reading this book in front of him, he asked me why I read stupid books. I told him that it's because sometimes I don't like to think too hard, especially after a difficult semester. He said, "But doesn't that just make you think harder?" Now, most of the time it doesn't. I am able to mostly turn off the part of my brain that's too logical and just enjoy the read for what it is. In cases where the book is so largely flawed that I can't do that, my dad is right. This was one of those books.The first problem was that the author had too many genres. Supernatural, romantic, Victorian, political, sci-fi, adventure, and more. The second was that the world wasn't built properly. This is a world where vampires and werewolves are accepted by British society, where people can apparently be soulless. We're not told much about what it means to be soulless, except for the fact that apparently they can make any supernatural temporarily human by touching them and that according to Alexia, the main character, they have no fashion sense so she just keeps up with the latest fashions. Somehow having no fashion sense doesn't keep her from complaining about her best friend's outrageous hats every time she sees her or mentions her. The main male character Lord Maccon (who just happens to be a werewolf) and Alecia have the hots for each other that's disguised as anger, an that often leads to hot makeout sessions. They are often too busy getting, well, busy that the plot is often put on hold and, other than some vague scenes and information that revealed itself while Alexia was trying to make jealous. Even the adventurous climax of the book, where Alecia is being held hostage and her life is possibly in danger, she is too busy kissing (and a little bit more) with Maccon that there doesn't seem to be much point. There are other problems, too, mostly in the case of stereotypes. Alexia is half Italian on her father's side, and is often described as "exotic" with large breasts. She seems to be knowledgeable about sex despite being a virgin, because her father slept with a lot of women and apparently has a lot of books about it. Her mother is always complaining about her first husband being Italian so much that it makes us wonder why she even married him in the first place. Her mother and half sisters are constantly obsessed with fashion and marriage and are described as shallow and stupid, whereas Alexia has been reading Greek philosophers ever since she was little so she's really smart. Just think Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, and Kitty. Her favorite vampire just happens to be gay, with a bunch of other gay guys working for him, so he has really flashy and flamboyant clothes and taste and just happens to be really good with clothes and hair for when Alexia needs that. The American is brash and rude and fat and lazy. Finally, it's not a British novel without a bunch of mentions of drinking tea. The final thing that bothered me is REALLY SMALL, but happens to be a pet peeve of mine. The author was constantly switching between calling her character Miss Tarabotti and Alexia. I find that annoying, and it often feels like the narrative was switching between the formal and informal voice. I realize that this is the first book of a series, but a first book should successfully introduce several aspects without feeling like it's just an introduction. It should be exciting and a good read in its own way. I finished the novel without knowing much more than I did when I first started out, except that Alexia likes kissing. I most likely won't be checking out the next books. Rating: 2/5