Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publication: March 17th, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Genre: Adult, Steampunk, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
Read: December 2016
It has come to my attention that this book may have misrepresentation of Indian/Hindu culture and religion. This review explains it more.
ON BEHALF OF QUEEN, COUNTRY…AND THE PERFECT POT OF TEA
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 Crumpet 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?
Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Unlike most of Carriger’s books, this one in particular is slow and a bit weak plot wise. It was boring sometimes which has never happened to me with one of her books. There was some action and loads of crazy situations but that felt very disconnected. However, I really enjoyed the expansion of the world specially in terms of supernatural creatures and the characters we get to see.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m a huge fan of Carriger’s writing style. It’s very simple yet descriptive and detailed. It’s historically accurate so it may be confusing to read in the beginning but it has amazing humor and is full of sarcastic quips and barbs. However, because of this particular POV, it can get a bit immature and naive. It’s quirky and whimsy and it was a bit frustrating at times.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is probably my least favorite part of this book. I tend to like Carriger’s main female characters but Rue kind of rubbed me the wrong way. She’s very naive and clueless. She has a tendency to act immature as well as really spoiled and arrogant which was annoying. She’s imposing and bossy which reminded me of her mother but it was almost like she was trying too hard at it, not like a specific part of her personality. She’s inventive and she comes up with a lot of crazy ideas and schemes which is fun. I liked her a lot more when I could see her interacting with the rest of the cast. She has two of her best friends accompany her on her journey, Primrose and Percy who are twins. I really liked both of them because of their differences and their similarities and how that played into their twin dynamic. I’m glad it was something that was explored in this book. She’s a very sensitive and girly girl, very conscious of society and how a lady of her social status has to act in these times. He on the other hand is more focus on books and learning and has a very quirky way of thinking. He’s much more reserved and would rather spend his time alone. Then there’s Quesnel who I was very happy to see all grown up and holding his own in the scientific community. He’s very cute and flirty and kind of what a player would be then. It was very interesting to see how all these very different people did or didn’t get along in such close quarters.
I enjoyed this book because I really love the world that Carriger has created but it was definitely not the author’s best work and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.
The plot is slow. We follow Rue, adopted daughter of Lord Akeldama (vampire) and daughter of Lord and Lady Maccion (werewolf and preternatural) who is charged with a mission to travel to India in order to investigate about some tea distribution. However, she gets tangled in a much bigger issue. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by this book. The plot is kind of weak compared to the ones I’ve read before from this author. There were some cool additions to the world, a lot more information of the kinds of paranormal creatures, but there’s really not much going on beyond that. I’m used to these books being really action packed and entertaining and while this one had a lot of those moments, it just didn’t really live up to my expectations. Nothing really substantial happens, there’s just a bunch of crazy things that nobody really know why they are happening and it causes a lot of confusion within the cast but that’s pretty much it. After reading the book, I looked through the reviews that already existed on Goodreads and found one that talks about misrepresentation of Indian/Hindu culture. You can check it out here. I have to say that when I was reading, I didn’t notice the misrepresentation but as I read the review, it definitely brought a lot of things to mind. I’m really disappointed by this because Carriger tends to be very careful and conscious of the representation of other cultures in her books, which is something she does often. Because the world is a steampunk version of India under British colonization and the writing is comical as well as sometimes clueless because of the main character, there’s a lot of blunders and liberties that the author takes with religion and culture that she shouldn’t have. I had to mention it in this review because I think it’s important to recognize when authors misrepresent cultures in their books to make sure that readers don’t begin a book that might ultimately insult or hurt them. However, I still managed to enjoy the book as a whole. It’s part of an amazing world that I really love and enjoy reading about. I had a lot of feelings regarding seeing and reading about some of my favorite characters from the previous series and seeing how they’ve changed or haven’t changed. The writing style is very humorous and I had a really fun time getting back into this world. This is definitely not the author’s best work and I think this book could’ve been so much better, but I still recommend the previous series a whole lot because I think they’re great.
Rue is definitely my least favorite main character of the ones Carriger has written. I expected her to be a lot like her mom, who is freaking amazing. She has her mom’s personality mixed with her adopted father’s so it’s a mix of really bossy and forceful with girly and whimsical which doesn’t really work as well as you’d think. She’s really naive and clueless and slightly immature. She gets sent for the first time alone to a whole other country and manages to screw everything up for a lot of people in the process. I wanted her to be a lot more intuitive like her mom and to be able to think on her feet quickly. However, she’s really sheltered, spoiler and arrogant so most of the times, she tries to figure out the best course of action for everyone and messes things up even more. Towards the end of the novel, I could see some change and development in her but definitely not enough. I hope she actually grows as a person in the next book because its definitely needed.
Lastly I want to talk a little bit about the side characters. I really liked Primrose, I think she’s a good balance to Rue’s personality. She’s really proper and girly. She cares a lot about her appearance on the outside and on maintaining her position in society and her reputation. However, she’s also used to rolling with the punches considering that she haves a meternatural for a best friend and I really liked that about her. Percy is really smart! He has a very gruff and quiet personality which was really surprising and funny considering who his mom is. I think he’s a really underappreciated character in this book. He does a lot to save the day and he tends to get treated like a socially awkward, clueless guy (which he is a bit but still). I hope he gets more recognition for all he does in the next book. There’s also Quesnel who I really like. He’s the complete opposite of Percy. He’s flirty and confident and kind of a player. He’s really cute and charming and I really love his banter with Rue.
Overall, I was disappointed with this book though I still enjoyed reading it. There was little to no plot and misrepresentation that left a sour taste in my mouth since I realized it was there after I finished reading. Rue kind of got on my nerves and was not enough like her mother to make me dislike her just a bit but too much like her for me to hate her. I hope she has more character development than she did in this book because she needs it. However, the writing style is still on point, quirky, a bit crazy and really really funny. I hope and pray that the next book is better.
So that’s it for this post! I would really love to know if you’ve given Carriger’s books a try. If you haven’t, I suggest starting with Parasol Protectorate which I think is amazing and showcases some of her best writing and character development. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!