On the list of book topics I’m unlikely to enjoy, just below “magic,” you’ll find “vampires” and “werewolves.” The last book i can remember enjoying with a strong strain of popular supernatural in it was one I’m embarrassed to cop to — Flowers in the Attic, which I read back when it was new. And the contemporary incarnation (heh-heh) of this stuff (starting with “Buffy” and “Charmed” and continuing on through the current heaping serving of teenage treacle) has completely passed me by.
So I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed Soulless, the first book in what appears to be an ongoing “supernatural for sci-fi grownups (who don’t mind a bit of bodice-ripping now and again)” franchise. I thought it would be, basically, garbage; but it’s nothing of the sort — it’s readable and fun alternative-universe stuff, and I’m working my way through the second book now.
The series is set in an England of the Victorian era on an Earth that seems more or less identical to our own, except that certain supernatural beings (chiefly vampires and werewolves) are “out of the closet,” so to speak, and living among ordinary humans, drinking tea, taking part in Society, etc. Their populations are small, but they exist, everyone is aware of them, they have their own cultural institutions, and there are even government agencies designed to keep the “races” from causing one another problems.
It’s light reading, but well plotted and well written, and there are elements both of plot and of writing that are exceptionally good. And bodices are ripped — which is not usually my thing, but here, again, it works.