Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Written by: Gail Carriger
Published: March 17, 2015 by Orbit
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)
Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes a new novel in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of Alexia Tarabotti.
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
I have been reading my way through Gail Carriger's catalog these past few years and with every series I get more and more impressed with her and her work. I had picked up the audiobook for this one ages ago during an Audible sale but I never found the time to read it. Well I needed a new audio and this perfectly fits my theme this months so I took the time to read it. And I am so glad that I did because it was fantastic.
First things first, I love the world of this series. And here I am not just talking about The Custard Protocal. No, I am talking about the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. Gail Carriger is one of those rare authors who has taken the world she created and moved it through different era, first backwards and now forwards. In this book we are taken twenty years after the events of the Parasol Protectorate to the end of the 19th Century. But everything I loved about the first two series are back in this book. It's the perfect combination of historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. It's a steampunk paranormal romp and I loved that. It's a world where steam machinery and dirigibles are everywhere but it's also a world where shapeshifters like vampires and werewolves control the government and society. You would think by now that would be old hat but Carriger manages to make it interesting by continuing to expand on all that. In this book we get to explore more of the British Empire and see more shapeshifters and see how the former has affected the latter. I loved the way this world continues to develop.
But my favorite thing about Gail Carriger's work is usually the characters and that was no exception here. Carriger really knows how to create fun and complex characters. First we have the titular character of Prudence aka Rue. Rue is the daughter of Alexia and Lord Maccon who was raised by Lord Akeldama. And honestly she was exactly what I expected with those three as parents. She's equal parts smart, resourceful, brash, flighty, and sarcastic. The last time we saw Rue she was an infant and she hasn't lost any of that trouble-making streak. I loved seeing her all grown up and using her metanatural talents sometimes for good and sometimes for not so good reasons. But honestly it's a serious shame that Rue could not have gone to Mademoiselle Geraldine's because she would have fit right in with those training to be spies.
But as usually this book was full of fantastic secondary characters as well. The crew of the Spotted Custard was all really fantastic. First of all we have the Tunstall twins, Primrose (Prim) and Percival (Percy). And Prim is so much like Ivy that I can't help but like her. Although she is a bit more practical with is nice. Percy however is totally different which didn't make him any less likable. In fact his love of books and knowledge made him one of my favorites along with inability to pick up on social cues. Then there is Quesnel. It was so much fun seeing him all grown up. He's quite rackish which as the child of Genevieve LeFoux I totally appreciate. Speaking of Mme LeFoux, she makes a brief appearance as do many of the other characters from previous series. Alexia, Lord Maccon, and Lord Akeldama are of course there being their usually amazing selfs, then there are members of the London pack like Biffy, members of the Kingair pack like Sidheag and Professor Lyall. It was great learning what had become of them all.
The plot too was really interesting. Like all the other books in the series it is full of action and adventure. Rue takes after her mother in that she is constantly finding herself in some kind of trouble and has to get herself out of it with a combination of quick-thinking and her supernatural ability. She's a little less aggressive then her mother though and more like Lord Akeldama in that she uses her intellect over weaponry. But either way, super engaging and interesting. The book also involved a covert mission which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's got a little bit of a spy novel feel to it but it also has a lot of mystery to it. It had me interested from beginning to end.
And because I listened to the audiobook I wanted to take a quick second to talk about that. I feel like the narrator did a fantastic job with this series. Moira quick also narrates the Finishing School series so perhaps that is why I found myself reminded so much of characters like Sophronia and a adolescent Vieve. But regardless, I thought she did a great job with each of the characters. They all felt unique and different and the accents were pretty good. Plus she set the tone and atmosphere for the book, which is what I like about audiobooks. She made the serious equal parts lighthearted and action-packed. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
But like all Gail Carriger's work I really liked this series. It's a brilliant addition to the world of these series. I don't even know what to call it. Is there a name for this universe? I don't know. WHo cares. It's great. It has a brilliant world, great characters, and a thrilling plot. It's everything I wanted in a historical fantasy and more.
I give Prudence by Gail Carriger 9 out of 10 stars
Have you read Prudence? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!