Sometimes I watch an anime because a figure I’m interested in from that series is released. And apparently other times when a manga is released based on a book series, I’ll also pick up the book series because I’m interested in the manga! Soulless: The Manga is being released by Yen Press, I saw a few preview coloured pages and became interested in the heroine. This will be a quick review on what’s been released of the books (1-4) and the manga (Volume 1) so far. So Books first and then a quick manga blurb!
*WARNING – slight spoilers (nothing too big though)*
Alexia is a child from her mother’s first marriage and is a very different individual (both in appearances and personality) from her family. On top of these differences Alexia is also a preternatural, which a human that is born without a soul. As a result of not having a soul, preternatural’s can neutralize the abilities of the supernatural. In the past preternaturals were used as humanity’s defense against the supernatural, in “present day” Victorian England the supernatural are an accepted part of society. Humanity benefits from the supernaturals’ knowledge in technology and science (hence the steampunk advancements) and the supernatural do not have to stay in the shadows. Alexia herself was shelved as a spinster before she had a chance to debut, as a result she still lives with her family (at the old age of 26) and spends a lot of time studying. But she can’t seem to escape running into curious situations that involve the supernatural…
The Parasol Protectorate: Novels
The heroine Alexia is my favorite part of this series, I like her attitude towards the situations she’s put against, and sarcastic comments. It’s a bit fun that she happens to be my age as well, I love reading about another strong willed 26 year old spinster. I’ll admit she’s a bit naive when it comes to understanding herself, but I’ve decided that it’s a charming characteristic. She’s the first character that seems to be a tip of the hat to Elizabeth Bennet (Pride & Prejudice) that doesn’t make me want to whap her on the head. I pretty much groaned at Twilight when I read the scene where it was trying to (not so subtlety) compare its story to the classic victorian romances like Pride & Prejudice…but now I’m off topic…After Alexia, Lord Akeldama is my next favorite character, he’s described with such humor and flamboyancy that I can’t help but smile at the thought of him. I’m particularly eager to understand his past before he came to be one of the oldest rove vampires in London. I love characters that create the image of absurdity around themselves, but are actually quite intelligent and dangerous. Also, the author does a wonderful job describing the outfits of all the individuals, they’re given just enough detail to excitedly light up my imagination without overdoing it.
Right from the start I was interested in the steampunk/supernatural world the Parasol Protectorate series takes place during. I really like (the author) Gail Carriger’s take on various aspects of the supernatural (werewolves, vampires, and ghosts) and balancing the politics of a society that openly accepts the supernatural. I’m ESPECIALLY fascinated by how human beings become supernatural, and how they “live” afterward, but I’ll let you find out all those details for yourself. Overall I wasn’t a fan of watching as Maccon and Alexia became closer, the romance aspect of it initially bored me a bit. So after the first volume I put this series down…but I found my thoughts wandering back to this book fairly often despite my decision that I wasn’t a fan of the romance. The world itself and the absurd adventures were simply too tempting to ignore. Eventually I picked up Volume 2 and charged through everything that was released quite quickly. The romance in this series grew on me after volume 1.
I love strong minded female leads, Victorian England, and the supernatural…this series satisfies a lot of my interests. The Parasol Protectorate series is my guilty pleasure, I really enjoy the stories and would recommend it to others as a fun indulgence.
Soulless: The Manga
The manga series has a fast pace that won’t leave the reader bored. One volume of manga seems to equal a single novel, on the one hand I love that the series doesn’t move slowly, and on the other I’d prefer that the series takes its time just a tad more. Soulless: Manga choose the lesser of two evils with the pace of the manga. I only have two Complaints about the manga otherwise. Firstly, I imagine Alexia is a lot more beautiful in the novels than her harsh opinion of her appearance indicates…but the manga REALLY made her drop dead gorgeous in just about every way. I wish they had scaled back her looks a bit to match the heroine from the novels a bit more. Alexia from the novels has a bit of a plain face but a lovely curvy figure, it’s almost unbelievable that anyone that looks like the manga Alexia could be an undesirable spinster. Complaint #2, I think all of the characters personalities came across pretty well…but somehow I don’t feel that Lord Akeldama’s character came across as well as I was hoping it would. I didn’t feel as bonded with the Lord Akeldama from the manga as much as I was with his character in the novels. But overall I think the manga was a great success, they really captured this series quite well and I look forward to future releases.
This manga is a great additionto anyone that love shoujo/supernatural series, one of the best pieces of Original English Language (OEL) manga style series around.