Soulless throws together a touch of steampunk, a bit of classic Victoriana, and a bit of pure silliness into a fantasy with a pretty interesting magic system. Our heroine, Alexia, is soulless, which here means that she lacks the ability to become a vampire or a werewolf (the most aristocrat class of all in this world). Worse, her touch, even through clothing, can revert a vampire or werewolf into their human selves. Her (campier than a row of tents) vampire friend, Lord Akeldama, finds this restful. Most others of the supernatural ilk find her vaguely creepy at best. The werewolf Lord Maccon, on the other hand... Well, it's the standard "they fight because they love each other!" convention, but here at least the attraction and mutual (somewhat grudging) respect is fairly obvious from the beginning, as well as the fact that they bicker because it's fun.
Alexia was a great lead character for me. She's smart and a bit bookish, doesn't get herself into bad situations by acting too stupidly, holds her own against Lord Maccon, and doesn't sit around waiting for people to decide to enlighten her. I also really liked the supporting cast, especially Professor Lyall and Ivy's hats.
The plot itself is pretty exciting, though the ending of it fizzles a bit. There is a sense that it isn't quite over, though. All those octopuses, for one. There was a preview at the back of the paperback I read that got me very interested for the next book. My hopes are high that I'll enjoy the rest of the series as much as I enjoyed the first book.