Prudence

Courtesy of goodreads.comI just finished Gail Carriger’s latest, Prudence. This is book one of the Custard Protocol series, which I assume will be a 4-5 book series like the Parasol Protectorate books and the Finishing School series. Because this is a very new novel, I won’t go into much detail here. All three series are interlinked, so it’s really fun to see where things come from or go.

This book follows Lady Prudence Akeldama, the adopted daughter of Lord Akeldama, rove vampire extraordinaire and biological daughter of Lord and Lady Maccon. She’s out in society, so probably about 18-19. Her best friend Primrose is the daughter of her mother’s best friend, Ivy Tunstall and she clearly has some sort of feeling for Madame LeFoux’s  son Quesnel.

This book follows the adventures of Prudence (called Rue) and her friends to India via the improbably ladybug colored dirigible, The Spotted Custard. This is a present from Lord Akeldama to Rue with the express intent of getting her out of London due to an unfortunate werewolf in bloomers incident at a society party and to get her to do some covert tea buying.

This is clearly the introductory story of her next story arc. There’s a lot of character building but I can’t quite decide of I’m supposed to like any of these character, particularly Rue. I feel she’s a bit spoiled and I can’t help but feel that I really, really want her taken down a serious peg or two.

There’s clearly supposed to be some sort of romantic build up between Rue and Quesnel, but…I just can’t seem to care. I think that’s far too tidy, considering Quesenl’s mother was in love with Rue’s mother. I don’t particularly like that Lady Alexia Maccon seems to have turned into every disapproving mother ever. She didn’t seem like that when Rue was little in the last Parasol Protectorate book.

I enjoyed reading the book. It had Gail Carriger’s distinctive style…but I think you could read the second book in this series (whenever it comes out) and still not really miss anything. It makes me want to read Soulless again. Rating: C+/B-

First Intro to Steampunk

Courtesy of gailcarriger.comSome time ago I stumbled upon information about steampunk. I’m not entirely certain now what it was that first brought that to my attention, but as a historian, I was intrigued.  The Victorian Era is also referred to the Industrial Age and the Golden Age, depending on who you talk to and what exactly you’re talking about.  Depending on your social status, the era could have been awesome in terms of the new technology and the ability to freely travel or it could royally suck with terrible work and health conditions. And forget about being a woman in that day and age.

At any rate, I was intrigued, but it took me a while to try out anything.  Because I’m sort of new to the steampunk genre, I’m not entirely sure if these books qualify as steampunk or just as historical fantasies.

First up: Soulless by Gail Carriger.  I was drawn to this because the main female character doesn’t quite fit into the typical urban fantasy female lead mold.  Sure she’s tough, self-sufficient and speaks her mind (much to her mother’s horror), but she’s described as dark, swarthy, large-nosed and plump.  She’s not lithe, fit, svelte, atheletic etc that most of the female leads I read about are described as.  It’s a nice change.

Soulless mixes steampunk, romance and fantasy by talking the soulless character of Alexia Tarabotti (an English lady of Italian descent) and crossing her path with the alpha werewolf of Lord Conall Maccon (and his pack) and vampire Lord Akeldama (a lovely unconventional vampire).  Alexia and Maccon have to solve the mystery of why some vampires are mysteriously disappearing before things get out of hand (terrible summary, I know but I read this one a while ago. Sue me).  Alexia is, as many of my favorite characters are, a wise ass. And she’s not afraid to use it. Or her silver and wood reinforced black parasol, her favorite accessory.

The follow up to Soulless is Changeless. Alexia and Maccon, (SPOILER ALERT) married after the end of the first novel, have to solve the mystery of why members of the London pack (Lord Maccon’s pack) have suddenly stopped being able to change into werewolves.  It leads them all the way to Scotland, to Lord Maccon’s original pack, who also cannot change.  Things don’t end too well for the married couple, sorry to say. Not that anyone important dies, but still, Gail Carriger leaves us hanging on that. I haven’t gotten the third book Blameless yet, but Christmas is coming in a couple months, so we’ll see.  I highly recommend both the fist two books, A.

Next post: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brooke