Monday, March 12, 2018

Prudence and Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Prudence by Gail Carriger 
Orbit, 2015 - owned in personal collection
The Custard Protocol, book one

Okay, if it's one thing that my 2018 Books I Already Own Challenge is truly teaching me, is that I NEED to stop auto-buying books, even from the authors that I love the most (such as Gail Carriger or Tamora Pierce)! I am much better off buying the books as I am ready to read them.  It's so tempting to pick up new, shiny books as they first come out, but like these two - books I was dying to read as I knew they were coming out - somehow once I physically owned them, it was much easier to let them fall by the wayside.  There was a comfort that I could read them whenever I wanted as they were nestled safely in my bookshelves, but as you can see I DIDN'T actually take the time to read them until now!

Anyway, unsurprisingly, I enjoyed diving back into the humorous, adventurous steampunk supernatural world Carriger created.  Though Prudence was a little slower to start for me, after I passed the first third of the book, and I trundled along to India with the Spotted Custard's crew, I was inordinately pleased to follow Alexia's precocious daughter into all types of danger. I really enjoyed getting to see Carriger's archaeological background come into play with the historical research necessary to delve into the ancient cultures that her imagined immortal creatures occupied in foreign countries.  While her love of British culture and humor is always evident, it was so interesting to delve into the time period when the Brits colonized India and to see their cultural stories come to live in this book.

Foreign cultures are further explored as we return to Egypt and their world of mythology in the second book, Imprudence (Orbit, 2016). The Drifters we met at the end of the Parasol Protectorate series also returned in this book and we got to learn some more intriguing tidbits about Rue's extended family and their role with the Italian Templars.  Rue's relationship to the supernatural and the way that her parents and now she fit into the supernatural world are explored in this second volume, though I feel we'll learn even more as we move forward into the third, Competence.

Competence, book three
Orbit, coming July 2018
My favorite thing about these two volumes, though, was definitely the humor and romance set amidst the danger and adventure of exploring unknown regions.  Seeing Rue realize that she was actually in love and what she was willing to do to preserve that relationship was fondly reminiscent of experiencing her parents' meeting in the earlier series.  Gail Carriger is a dab hand at writing romantic tension and the way she handled both this relationship and the burgeoning one that Prim is desperately trying to avoid were both laugh out loud funny and sweetly romantic at alternate times.  I look forward to seeing both relationships progress as the series moves forward.  I am hoping that we may even get to see our hopelessly anti-social Professor find his own love...

Recommended for lovers of humor, the supernatural, and steampunk adventures.  Though in order to get the full scope of character relationships and world-building readers should start with book one of the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless, it is not completely necessary to have read that series to enjoy this one.

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