Last week I stayed up half the night reading Soulless by Gail Carriger. Loved it!
I first heard of the novel on Pubrants -- a blog I frequently read by the woman who agented this novel. At the time she was saying something about how it just so happened that this book launched just after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies did and that was fortunate for the novel Soulless.
Now, I haven't read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- although it did make Amazon.com's top cover designs of 2009 -- but the word I'm hearing about that novel is that the zombies don't add much to the story. Soulless, however, is majorly cool.
[Yes, I did just get all teenage-fan-girl over it just now.]
Soulless is a comedy of manners set in Victorian England. That is, a Victorian England where werewolves and vampires are part of respectable society, judged not by their fangs but by how well tied their cravats are.
Despite solving mysteries and slaying the occasional vampire, the main character, Alexia Tarabotti, won't be going rogue like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Karate chops and flying kicks are impossible to do without ruining one's bustle, after all. And that is Carriger's great success in this novel: the sensibilities are spot on Victorian and yet the gentlemen werewolves and lady vampires are still instinctual beings who have occasionally awkward impulses and behaviors. The narration views the supernatural elements not as feral and fearful, but as lapses in decorum. The dry humor is fabulous.
Also, the novel doesn't follow the pattern of one of Austen's so it's full of its own twists and turns and -- yes -- action.
There's set to be a second novel out this spring. I'll be adding it to my bookshelf as well.