Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review: Prudence by Gail Carriger

Prudence by Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Genre: Steampunk
Add on Goodreads

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?

The ladies regarded the man with eyes of steely disinterest. Well, to be fair, Prim's eyes were more a melted cocoa of mock reproach, and Rue's were the twinkling tawny of barely contained amusement.

Okay, can I first say, this book is very pink. Kind of disturbingly (and distractingly) pink if you ask me. I showed it to my mom and she asked 'is it a girly book?' Sorry, what? Probably not the way she was thinking.

This book follows our intrepid, titular heroine as she floats to India with a trio of friends. Honestly, though it took me awhile to get used to Rue, (as she's called) I think she just might be my favorite of Ms. Carriger's heroines so far. She's very different than either Alexia or Sophronia - I think more of a girl, for one thing, but she also isn't quite as…comfortable with herself as either of them were.

Besides Rue, we have her three friends. Prim, her best friend. (Of course. It wouldn't be a Gail Carriger book without a foil for the heroine in the form of a BFF.) She's not as adventurous as Rue, but always game. Then there's the two guys. Percy, Prim's twin brother, and Quesnel. While they're both the intelligent - somewhat brains-over-brawn sort - (which makes me both very, very happy and somewhat in love with both of them) they are also very different. And get along like a couple of wet cats because of it.

I love the people in this book. The personalities are great and I adore snark and banter, which this book has in spades. However, as much as I just want to skate by, complementing the people in this book in every way, all was not making me happy.

I wish that some of the main characters hadn't been related to people from the Parasol Protectorate series. (Nope, not gonna tell you who. I'm evil that way.) Don't get me wrong, I love this world. It's awesome and amazing and I always look forward to spending more time in it. I just think I would have liked it a bit more if the references to the PP had been left as a bit more of a cookie. Like in the Finishing School series where you do get to see younger versions of some (a couple, anyway) of the people from PP.

This book is very firmly a 'second generation' type story. While that's cool - and I admit I love the people - I think I might have been a bit happier if something else had been done. Speaking of, Alexia shows up in this book and I, will admit, her personality shift was somewhat surprising to me. She's not a different character, or anything like that, but she matured much more than I expected her to. (I guess I was just expecting her to still be like Amelia Peabody and go haring off on an adventure at a moment's notice.)

Outside stood a number of differently sized gilt cages and a polite little sign suggesting if patrons did not deposit their animals there, said animals would also be supplied with tea. And one never knew how tea would affect a goat.

If you've heard enough from me, you probably know I love steampunk. However, this book is almost exactly what I wished for when I first entered the steampunk world. (The only thing that would have made it better is pirates!) Instead of a solely localized story, about half of this book takes place on an airship as the intrepid adventurers travel from England to India.

I love the chance to see more of the world, but even more than that, I love the adventure that's in this book. No, it's not what you're thinking, but it's Victorian style adventure. (Granted, I might have been just the tiniest bit more pleased with trousers instead of skirts for our ladies, but let's not quibble.)

I can't help it. I'm really trying hard not to compare and contrast this to the PP or the FS series, but… If The Parasol Protectorate owes its life to bodice rippers and The Finishing School series owes its life to young adult, The Custard Protocol owes its life to adventuring.