The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 5, 2012

Danya Walker: Paranormal series features odd creatures

By Danya Walker
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, especially historical, romance and paranormal novels and am always looking for new authors. So when my mother-in-law, who is a big reader herself, suggested a book series that seemed to involve all three genres, I had to check them out.

How often do you find books that are regency romance paranormal steampunk?

“Soulless” introduces Alexia Tarabotti, a soulless spinster with a dead Italian father (horror of horrors), who was just attacked by an extremely rude vampire. When she accidentally kills him with her hatpin and parasol, she is investigated by Lord Maccon, the local Alpha werewolf in London.

It seems that rogue vampires are appearing and disappearing, and some believe that Alexia is responsible. Just because she has no soul, does that make her evil?

Being a preternatural with no soul gives her the ability to negate supernatural powers, meaning with her touch she restores the mortality of vampires and werewolves alike.

Can she figure out what is happening without breaking all of society’s rules and ruining what little reputation she has? Throw in an attraction for the horribly rude and aggravating Lord Maccon and Alexia’s job just got more difficult.

Within just a few pages I was completely hooked, discovering that Alexia Tarabotti reminded me of Amelia Peabody in the books by Elizabeth Peters, attitude and parasol alike.

After finishing the first book, I eagerly started the next in the series, which was “Changeless.” Alexia has the ability to turn vampires mortal and werewolves human, but someone or something in London has the same ability, except over a much larger area and for a longer time.

Alexia must track down whatever this is before it falls into the wrong hands as a weapon. Add a missing werewolf husband, a way-too-friendly French hatmaker and inventor, and Queen Victoria herself demanding results, and it might be almost too much for Alexia to handle, even with her handy parasol.

Jumping to the third book, “Blameless,” we find Alexia dealing with more than ever. She must cope with a pregnancy, almost everyone wrongly thinking she cheated on her husband, homicidal mechanical ladybugs and a trip to Italy.

Did I mention homicidal mechanical ladybugs?

I planned on waiting to start the next book, “Heartless”, because it was the last one in the series that we owned here at the library, but within a day I had to give in to my cravings and start it.

A garbled clue from a ghost starts Alexia investigating a threat against the queen, with the trail leading to her husband’s past. Her family issues surface again when her half-sister shows up with an interest in the suffragette movement, an intriguing invention by her favorite French hatmaker, and an attack of zombie porcupines.

She must deal with being eight months pregnant. So, it’s just regular life for Alexia. My biggest regret with this book is that there weren’t enough zombie porcupines in it.

These books are a great new twist on the regency paranormal genre (did you even know such a genre existed?) that continue to hold my interest with every book. The author has not only taken the time to create intriguing main characters, her secondary characters are humorous, entertaining and will keep you eagerly turning pages.

If you’re looking for a new read that is funny, well-written, unusual and chocked full of vampires, werewolves and ghosts, you won’t want to miss out on these great new books at the Joplin Public Library.

Danya Walker is the assistant circulation supervisor at the Joplin Public Library.