Book Review: Prudence

Prudence by Gail Carriger, The Custard Protocol #1

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?

Gail Carriger is best known for her Parasol Protectorate series which has featured five full length books so far and some short stories, as well as being adapted into a manga series. Added to this Gail Garriger started to write prequel series called Finishing School which tells some of the events that led up to the Parasol Protectorate series. And like if that wasn't enough, Gail Carriger once again has something in store for her fans with a completley new series once again: The Custard Protocol. Featuring noneother than the daughter of Alexia Tarraboti. Now I have to be honest. I don't know who that is... I haven't read the Parasol series but from the blogosphere I have gathered that it has been a non stop hit so far. Even though I didn't have any experience with the previous series, I was still looking forward to reading this book a lot. Where I finally had the chance to experience it for myself, and I enjoyed it a lot, with just the first few pages Gail Carriger had me convinced and putting the Parasol Protectorate to order.

What falls to note from the first few sentences of the book is that Gail Carriger is relentless in her writing. She begins the story action packed in such away that she forces you to continue reading, the writing style is fast and highly addictive readily urging you to read this book at any given time. Added to this comes of course the whole promise of the story which only further completes the whole. Steampunk is a very diverse setting and Gail Carriger makes it even more diverse by adding a Urban Fantasy backdrop to it. Her story features werecreatures and vampire and some more. Of course the story is serious in it's own way, Gail Carriger does produce something of a "romp" feeling to it, there are a lot of funny and hilarious moments in the backdrop of a much bigger and serious picture. This change of tone was nicely put and added something hard to describe to the story, something of a nice dynamic and above all a terrific sense of feeling. 

The story in Prudence centers around the young women Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, for those who find this quite a mouthful, she also accepts to be called Rue. As I said, Gail Garriger begins the story with a fast pace and here you already see the energy that Rue has. But more importantly perhaps is that you see how Rue normally behaves. She is out to have fun. A lot of fun, and of course drink a cup of tea given time as well. And you shouldn't mess with the tea. After a fast paced beginning, Rue receives the control of a dirigible by her stepfather Akledama, one of the vampires of the story. This is the beginning of Rue's adventure as she is tasked to fly with this ship to investigate some serious tea business (as I already mentioned, they are dead serious about there tea!). The ship that Rue receives is dubbed into The Spotted Custard, as next to tea she is also a big fan of said dessert. However the trip to India and once Rue is in India is filled with a lot of adventures. Adventures that will ask a lot of Rue and her friends. She uncovers a big mystery that could impact a lot more, more than just the tea trade...

I really, really liked the whole story that Gail Carriger wrote in Prudence. I have been reading a lot of books with a serious tone lately (yes even though it is fiction it can sound serious). Prudence is right there at the other end of the spectrum, a story filled with a lot of joy and humor all along the way. Witty remarks and reference, boisterous character and as I can't say a lot of laughing out loud moments. Some do reach the level of almost over-the-top. But in the end, given the whole idea behind this book and the other series of Gail Carriger it is just most fitting. It comes to show that Gail Carriger writes the story of Prudence with a lot of passion, it flows from the idea's, the funny moments and the highly energetic character that is Rue herself. 

So for the characters. Rue makes up the main protagonist of Prudence and just like her mother, Rue is also special. She has the gift of being a metanatural, which allows he when she comes into contact with a supernatural being like a werecreature or a vampire, that she is able to steal this gift and temporarily bestow it upon herself. Gaining powers of said supernatural. This is a pretty awesome idea to be honest, haven't encoutenterd this one before and it sure led up to some funny moment right then and there. Added to this comes the personality of Rue which that of a young women out to have fun. She has enough energy to run a couple of marathons a day, has a quick mind and a sharp tongue. But during her new task by her stepfather she is perhaps indirectly forced to grow up as well. I am always a big fan when you see a coming of age that doesn't necesarrily change the character fully but makes him or in this case her, more aware of certain things. I think with Rue, Gail Carriger is on the right track! Next to Rue there are plenty of more secondary characters that you get to meet, some also out of the Parasol Protectorate series and some new. All do feel whole and you can definitely see that Gail Carriger wants to make her characters come out in full colors. Very nice characterization in all. 

If you are looking for something that will get you just as energetic as Rue herself I can only recommend that you read this book. The energetic spirit contained in this young women will surely rub off on you once you delve deeper and deeper into Prudence. Gail Carriger has written a most interesting start to a sequel series to her Parasol Protectorate series. Since I haven't read the series myself I cant be the judge of whether Prudence is just as good as her other books I do can say that I enjoyed Prudence a lot and it did wake me up a lot. Prudence is an action packed, highly humorous romp of a story and with Rue taking the lead you will definitely be going to different places more. Let's see where Gail Carriger will bring her next. Make sure you have a pot of tea when you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down for sure!


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