Review: Soulless Manga Volume 1

Written by Gail Carriger, Art & Adaptation by REM, Lettering by JuYoun Lee

From Gail Carriger’s website

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she is being rudely attacked by a vampire to whom she has not been properly introduced! Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire, and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Read this if you love:

  • Manga adaptions of Steampunk
  • A strong female lead, with compassion and no soul
  • An adult romance with some naughtiness

My Review

What I loved.

To be clear, Gail Carriger’s original Soulless book is one of my comfort reads, and I have multiple different editions of it, from the original, to the illustrated version, to the a numbered hardcover collector’s edition, a French version. So, you might say that I love this book. Or am a wee bit obsessed with it.

But today, I’m going to review the Manga version of the story specifically, in case you enjoy that graphic novels.

In the original Soulless book, Gail Carriger takes an omniscient third point of view, so the narrator sees everything all at once. If you’re unused to it, it can feel a little bit like head hopping, but that isn’t the case. You get the perspective of the characters you need to understand the story. What I love about the Manga version is how well suited to the omniscient third point of view it is.

But in case you’re worried about losing the details of the characters in their reactions, I have to say that REM does a fantastic job conveying the emotional arcs of the characters through their facial expressions. My favourite moment in the story, in which Lord Maccon realizes he wants to marry Alexia and she refuses, is handled perfectly by the REM.

The best part is that the story is engaging, and captures all the elements of the plot and characters that I love.

If you don’t like excessively flowery prose, for which Gail Carriger is known, you might prefer this version of her series.

What I didn’t love.

Gail Carriger makes quite a strong description in her original books that are not quite brought into effect in the Manga, though it has more to do with the Manga style than anything else. Alexia is 27, a full-bodied spinster, and half Italian with a crooked nose. The character is drawn expressively enough, but the Manga style erases those specific features. Lord Maccon similarly has his Scottishness and his gruff furriness as a werewolf shifter smoothed out. Lord Akeldama is perfect though.

Also, this is a sexier book, though the details are scandalous and do leave a little to the imagination in the original, the Manga is a bit more explicit. I don’t recommend this book to a younger audience.

My Analysis


3rd omniscient present, Alexia, with Maccon.


External: Action – Adventure
Global Values: Damnation / Life
Core Need: Survival
Core Emotion: Excitement

Internal: Love
Global Values: Hate to Love
Core Emotion: Romance
Controlling idea:  Love is a dance you must be worthy of.


Violence: medium.
Gore: medium.
Romance/Sex: implied sex on the page, no private bits shown.
Series: Parasol Protectorate Manga, Volume 1.
Reality Clover: Sci-fi / Fantasy – Past

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