This may be one of the least surprising BotW picks ever, considering that the first book in the Custard Protocol series was a BotW, as were several of Gail Carriger’s other books (Sumage Solution, Manners and Mutiny and Timeless) and she was one of my discoveries of the year back when this blog was but a child. In fact, the only question you have may be: What took me so long to read Imprudence, given that it came out in July last year. Fear not. There are answers ahead.
Firstly though, the plot: Rue and her crew are back in London after the events of Prudence, which have landed her in a whole heap of hot water with the powers that be. On top of this, her best friend keeps getting engaged to unsuitable military types and there’s something going on at home. Rue’s vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is not himself, and her mother is being even more difficult than usual. What is going on? Finding out will take the Spotted Custard and her crew to Egypt and beyond
Now, part of the reason this has taken so long for me to read is that it was all boxed up with the to-read pile at the back end of last year, but the reason it was still waiting to be read at that point was a line in the blurb: “her werewolf father is crazy”. Having read Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, I had a fair idea what was going on there, and I was worried about how it was going to resolve itself. I love and adore Rue’s Paw – Conall Maccon and although he has his stupid moments (to whit, his idiotic behaviour in Blameless) I was a bit worried about what might happen to him. And I had a few rocky moments early on in the book, which involved near tears and sniffling. But I got through it and I was ok. And that’s as much as I can say without it all being a big old spoiler. And while we’re talking about the Parasol Protectorate, I found myself wishing that I’d re-read Timeless before I read this, because a lot of the action is in Egypt and there’s a lot of references to the events of that book. It did all come back to me, but I think I would have been cooing with delight sooner if I’d done a reread first. And so of course now I need to go and do that reread to check if there were any references that I missed in Imprudence. There are old friends here – and some who are less friendly.
If I have a quibble, it’s that everything is wrapped up very quickly in the end – the main romantic through line and the adventure-quest one. I could have read another 50 pages of that resolving itself. But maybe that’s just me. And if you’re wondering what prompted me to read this now, it’s the fact that the latest novella that Carriger has written is set after this book, and I *really* want to read that and so needed to do things in order. Because I’m like that. And we all know that I’ll be pre-ordering the next in this series, Competence, just as soon as there’s a paperback preorder link. Because I’m like that too.
As always in posts like this, I’m going to remind you all that this is the second in this series, but really actually the seventh if you’re counting Parasol Protectorate (which as you may have guessed have a fair bit to do with this) and eleventh if you’re going chronologically and including the spin-off prequel Finishing School YA series. So don’t start with this one. If you’re impatience, go and read Prudence first, but really, what you want to do is start with Soulless and work your way through Alexia’s story before you come to Rue. And then do the Finishing school, because that is so much more fun once you start to work out who everyone is and how it all fits together. Just my two-penneth. They’re all available in Kindle and Kobo and Audible* and you should be able to order the paperbacks from any good bookshop. Like the Big Green Bookshop.
*Although NB, the first audiobook pronounces Lord Akeldama’s name wrong. It’s Ak-el-dama not A-keel-duhma or however she says it. It’s fixed by book 2 and I can just about cope with it in book one, even if my brain does repeat it pronounced correctly after every time it’s used.