Prudence by Gail Carriger
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol Book 1
Publish Date: March 17, 2015
Audiobook Publisher: Hachette Audio
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
Perspective: Third Person
Publisher’s Description: 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?
Invested Ivana says…
Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Grown-up Prudence is exactly what I would expect after her introduction in the Parasol Protectorate. The product of three strong-willed parents, Prudence is smart, strategic, and independent but also rash and stubborn. She is afraid of very little and thrills at adventure. Her eagerness to try other shapes with her metanatural abilities, and her descriptions of being in those shapes, is so fun to read.
Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Prim, Percy, and Quesnel make excellent compatriots and friends. I particularly love Prim’s complete acceptance of Rue and the way she has skills Rue does not. The supporting cast onboard the Custard – Spoo, Aggie, and Percy’s valet, Virgil – make for some great interactions. Miss Sekhmet brings a smooth, mysterious vibe to the story that is quite a lot of fun. And the incorporation of the Featherstonehaughs is a nice nod to the first series.
World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The world of the Parasol Protectorate gets a little larger as the Spotted Custard floats off to India to discover there are more supernatural creatures in the world than the Empire thought. We don’t get to explore the cultural differences between the Rakshasas and the British vampires much; that would have been interesting. I love the use of the British Imperialism attitude in the story. The British believed that bringing culture and civilization to the wilds of the world was a great gift and could not understand why India, the Scottish, or anyone else would object. Silly British.
Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ “I think this is the one where there is a misunderstanding.” Rue is sent on a mission to India to manage a tea trade for her Dama. What she discovers is something altogether different. There are a few times during the standoff between the Vanaras, the werewolfs, and the British Army when it feels like Rue keeps making the wrong decisions – when it seems taking direct action would be more effective than the many stalling tactics and sly schemes she does employ. Both Miss Sekhmet and Rue have everyone’s attention many times, and I am confused why they don’t use it more effectively. I wonder if this is part of this new “New Adult” genre – getting in over your head, making the not-quite-right decision, but yet seeing it mostly work out in the end. I think it made the scene play out a little longer than necessary; but, as I say, it all worked out in the end.
Narrator: ♥ ♥ ♥ Moira Quirk did a great job of voicing the characters. Fans of the Finishing School audios will be very happy. However, being the Type A personality that I am, and such a huge fan of Emily Gray’s performance on the Parasol Protectorate, I have to admit to a small bit of disappointment – particularly with the voice of Lord Akeldama. Gray just nailed the voice of Akeldama, expressing his outrageousness but also his deviousness and his heart. Quirk just didn’t have that same effect. Many of the pronunciations were different as well, such as BUR and Quesnel’s name. I know this is simply an expression of the human resistance to change – as I say, Moira Quirk did a great job. But I do think consistency matters a great deal to audiobook listeners.
Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This was another fun story from Ms. Carriger, and another fun listen as well. I’m very much looking forward to the continuation of Rue’s story.
If you like this book…
As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t recommend the audio version of the Parasol Protectorate enough. It’s a delightful listen. Ms. Carriger also has her Finishing School series, which is set in the same world as Prudence and The Parasol Protectorate, but much earlier in time.
No promotional consideration was granted for this review.