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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sheep Review: Soulless: Manga Vol 1 by Gail Carriger

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga#1)
By: Gail Carriger (Author), Rem (Illustrator)
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Yen Press
ISBN: 031618201X (ISBN13: 9780316182010)
Synopsis: The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn't an easy one on the best 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 the 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 out match 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!

I have to say that when I first heard that this book series was going to be turned into a manga I had some very mixed feelings. Although thrilled that there was going to be a "visual" version of the book, I was worried that it was being done by an English team and no one on the team who is known for their manga work. I am happy so say that I was not let down; I loved this manga and I cannot wait for the second volume to come out later this year.
If you have read the book of the same title you will have no issues knowing what is going on, there is more explanation of certain things in the novel that are sadly left out of the manga. If you have not read the book you may be confused about what a preternatural is [IE. going beyond nature:exceeding what is normal in nature (formal or literary)] or the meaning of the vampire hives.
For those not familiar with the story, Alexia is born without a soul and has this odd ability to turn supernatural beings(werewolves, vampires) back into their "human state" just by touching them. After accidentally killing a vampire, Alexia draws the attention of Lord Maccon (who happens to be an Alpha werewolf and the leader of the BUR [The Bureau of Unnatural Registry]), the Queen and a few hive leaders. None of the supernatural leaders are quite sure where this rouge vampire came from or who his maker is. Alexia takes it upon herself to investigate what is going on and who is behind it, much to the dismay of Lord Maccon. In Lord Maccon’s eyes Alexia is more of a hindrance than a help, the fact that he has some very strong feelings for her doesn’t help the overall situation either.

Alexia and Lord Conall find out that there is a group of scientist who are behind the rouge vampire that are showing up, as well as the mysterious disappearances of known vampires. During the investigation into this secret scientific society, Alexia finds out that Connal has been kidnapped and she is thrown into a cell with Connal while he's in werewolf form. With her touch she is able to turn Connal back to human form and explain the scientists' conspiracy.
Outside of the main story line, the background romance between Alexia and Connal was silly at times, and at others they could not stand being around each other. But the romance plot is what kept me going in the book.
"Alexia decided, then and there, that Lord Conall Maccon clearly had only two modes of operation: annoyed and aroused. She wondered which one she would prefer to deal with in a regular basis. Her body joined her in that discussion and she actually managed to shock herself into continued silence."
One of my favorite scenes is when Alexia and Connal are alone discussing a gentleman friend of Alexia’s and Connal was telling her how he felt about it and her, to the point of pulling Alexia on his lap and kissing her. Alexia’s family walks in on them and Mrs. Tarabottis's reaction to this is classic “ Strict Victorian Mother”demanding that they get married right away since they were caught canoodling!
I will strongly suggest getting this for your collection, the art style is amazing, it strongly highlights the Victorian fashion of the times, and the odd hats are even added. My biggest compliment is that the females in this have CURVES!!!! Rem made the woman look like real women, not the thin stickish figures that some other mangas have.
The second manga, Changeless, is due out by the end of the year.

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