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?
My Thoughts :
I absolutely adored the Parasol Protectorate novels by Gail Carriger and was extremely excited about this new series starring Prudence, the daughter of Alexia Tarabotti. This was the series that made Steampunk a genre worth checking out. The witty and outrageous dialogues were always fun, the stories exciting and the characters delightful.
Twenty years have passed and Prudence, or Rue as she prefers to be called, is all grown up and very much a combination of her parents characters. The steampunk/paranormal setting that Carriger built up in the PP is ready and waiting for the Custard Protocol to take over. There are meetings and mentions of all the old folks we know and love from the Parasol Protectorate. Actually it is quite fun to find Pru hanging out with the younger generation/offspring of the PP and finding out what they have been up to.
The ground work has already been done but that doesn't help Prudence at all. In fact she is quite annoying. Prim, her best friend, isn't much better either and while I liked Quesnel on some occasions I have to admit he got on my nerves too. Percy is the most likable character but he is constantly presented as a weird man who isn't really needed but is actually the one they need the most. All in all the characters failed to make me care for them and this alone made the book hard to read to the end.
If that wasn't enough to get around there was also the severe lack of plot. I kept waiting for the whole trip to make sense, for something to happen that made an impact on the story or even a mystery to be introduced. However it was just a trip to India that had some slightly interesting events involved which by the end quickly got pushed together in a roundabout way to have a reason for a second installment. It wasn't horrible to read and it wasn't bad but it was frustrating and of course it lacked that certain something that makes you eager to keep reading.
While I love Carriger's style this time around it went a little overboard. The fashion details were over the top and very silly while the dialogue was more often than not a little absurd. The Victorian times had certain customs and the English language was different but there is a point where it is too much. Carriger met this point and went over the limit in Prudence and her finally using Ladybird instead of Ladybug was only a slight relief.
I could continue to point out things that were annoying or possibly boring but it won't help anyone, not even me. Why? Because despite my nitpicking I still read this to the end and will of course read the next installment. Really? Yes! This is the only Paranormal Urban Fantasy Steampunk author that I like and I want to go back into this world! The whole concept is enough to keep me going back for more and maybe I won't pre-order the next book but I will get a copy of it at some point and I will most likely moan about that one too.
So Carriger fans and Parasol Protectorate lovers you have bee warned! You are going to love to hate this one or just love it. Or maybe just hate it. Either way you won't find anything better in this genre!