Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger

March 20, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 4 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail CarrigerPrudence by Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Published by Orbit on March 17th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Steampunk, Vampires, Werewolves
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Timeless

two-stars
Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon's daughter Prudence travels to India on behalf of Queen, country...and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she 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), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all...

Ah, the first not fabulous review of this book. Well. Isn’t this awkward?

 Having read (and loved) Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series I’ve been dying for this new spin-off series. Prudence! Their metanatural daughter all grown up, wreaking all sorts of havoc on London! How freaking fun is this going to be?!?! For me? Not so much. Not so much at all. This was such a chore for me to read and took me a whopping 25 days to get through. 25 days!!! I can’t even begin to explain how sad this makes me.

The first installment in The Custard Protocol series has Prudence acquiring a dirigible that she proceeds to paint to look like a ladybug and she takes off in it on an adventure to India to acquire some rare tea blend for her adopted father Dama. Here lies my first issue with this story: where the hell is the plot? Wait, that’s it? Based on the writing style you’ll know first-off that this is not one to be taken seriously, but it all felt a bit too willy nilly. But hold up, let’s back up a touch to the writing style. Now I read the Parasol Protectorate series so I have already been introduced to Carriger’s floral writing style but holy hell, she cranked it up in Prudence to the point where it was all just so absurd. Like here:

‘One could not blame people for disliking vampires. Vampires were like Brussels sprouts – not for everyone and impossible to improve upon with sauce. There were even those in London who disapproved of Dama, and he was very saucy indeed.’

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one:

“Rue was further delighted. She twirled. She’d even left her hair down. It felt very wicked. “Is it possible I have a bad case of the spotted crumpet?”

And there were several times when she would refer to facial hair as facial “topiary” and she officially lost me. Add to that was the constant focus on dressing properly and reputations. Prim’s involvement in the story consisted solely of her constant complaining. “Oh! I wore a walking dress, not a carriage dress!” Then there was the time when she wore a traveling dress instead of a visiting dress and they had to leave for India earlier than intended because what a travesty. Stop the presses. I know you don’t have to tell me this is meant to be set in Victorian times and these were very serious issues but it felt so overly focused on that dresses and styles and changing and matching hats all became the entirety of the story. A plot did actually end up appearing, a very serious one actually that not only came out of nowhere but just felt out of place. Also out of place was the odd attempt at a romance that fell completely flat due to absolutely no chemistry.

I’ve wrestled with the inability to describe how and why this story went wrong for me. I found it all a bit pretentious, trifling and frivolous. But there was one particular line uttered by Prudence that completely summed this book up for me:

“When all else failed – overwhelm with inanities.”

Because that’s exactly what this book felt like it did; it completely overwhelmed me with inanities.

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