Adventure, Authors I love, Book of the Week, historical, Series I love

Book of the Week: Imprudence

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.

The paperback of Imprudence on a shelf next to Prudence

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.

Happy Reading!

And for longtime readers: No, I still haven’t sorted out the size mismatch issue with my Parasol Protectorate books, I still don’t know the best way to shelve them, but at least I haven’t caved in and bought a second copy of Heartless! There’s still time…

*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.

Book of the Week, Fantasy, new releases, reviews, Uncategorized

Book of the Week: Prudence

This week’s BotW is Gail Carriger’s latest – Prudence – and you can’t say that I didn’t warn you that this might happen.  Because I did, even if it’s a few weeks later than I thought it might turn up here.  And that’s because I took an executive decision to save it for my holiday book – for our trip (to Vienna in the end) to mark a Significant Birthday for The Boy.  A holiday book should be a treat, preferably something that you know you’re not going to hate, and as it was already on the to-read pile, saving this meant I didn’t incur the wrath of The Boy for buying books again…

Gail Carriger's Prudence
I really like the purple and pink theme. And I’m not usually a pink person…

Anyway, Prudence is the first book in Carriger’s new series – the Custard Protocol.  Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School books, there are some familiar faces, not least Prudence herself – last seen as a toddler in the Parasol Protectorate series. When Rue is given a dirigible, she names it The Spotted Custard and heads for India on a secret mission.  But the situation there is not as simple as she had been lead to believe (and that wasn’t that simple to start with) and before long she’s dealing with dissidents, kidnappings and a pack of Scottish werewolves and it will take all her metanatural skills to deal with it.

Now, I’ve read all (I think) of Carriger’s other series, but I don’t think it would spoil your enjoyment of the book if you haven’t read them* as Carriger has been very careful not to give away too many spoilers for the plots of her previous books.**  However, for those of us who have read the previous books, you get the delicious enjoyment of being better informed about the past than our heroine, and equally delightful anticipation of confrontations and revelations yet to come.

When I read Timeless, I spotted a few dangling threads left that I hoped were teasers of stuff yet to come – and I was on the right track.   Again, my spoiler policy makes it difficult to be more specific than that, but I really like the direction that this series looks to be heading in.  The only problem with having read Prudence in fact is that I now have to wait (probably) a year to find out what happens next in Imprudence – and it’s still more than six months until the final Finishing School book – Manners and Mutiny – where I finally get to find out how Sophronia’s world became Alexias.

You can buy Prudence from all the usual sources – like Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles and Kindle.  I’ve also spotted it in  my local library already – which I haven’t seen before – and is brilliant, because hopefully it’ll introduce more people to Gail Carriger and then they can fall in love with her world like I have.

* Although the Parasol Protectorate is the more relevant to this book if you want somewhere to start

** Although the identity of Rue’s parents is a bit of a spoiler for Souless, there’s no way to avoid that!

Authors I love, Book of the Week, Fantasy, Series I love

Book of the Week: Timeless

I had real trouble choosing the BotW this week – because I don’t like repeating – and Gail Carriger has a new book out  on Kindle TODAY and in paperback on Thursday (and my pre-order hasn’t dispatched yet – Amazon I’m watching you – you didn’t use to delay posting pre-orders to those of us who refuse to pay postage…) and if Prudence is half as good as her other stuff, it’s going to be a candidate for BotW as well.

But I’ve enjoyed Timeless and the whole Parasol Protectorate series so much, it would have been disingenuous not to pick it as a BotW – especially as it was the my favourite thing I read last week.  It’s my own fault for saving Timeless because I didn’t want Alexia’s story to be over.

Timeless by Gail Carriger
I don’t love this cover shot – although the costume is one from the book, I think the face is… odd!

Timeless is the fifth and final volume in the story of Alexia Tarabotti – a preturnatural in steam punk Victorian London.   And I can’t really say much more than that about the plot of Timeless because anything else would be Spoiling The Previous Four Books.   Ms Carriger was on my list of Discoveries of 2014 – and I said then that she was well on course to be on my automatic pre-order list if Timeless didn’t do something dreadful and disillusioning.  And it didn’t.  It’s not my favourite of the series, but it is still pretty darn fantastic and ties up a lot of the dangling threads from the previous books and then sets up a few new questions too.

Alexia is a fabulous creation – and the world that she lives in is equally brilliant.  Carriger has worked out how her world works and wears that very lightly – in fact she’s a big old tease.  She really doesn’t want to tell you her secrets – unlike some authors who can’t wait to dump all the rules of the world on you.  Even in this last book in the series we’re still discovering new things about Alexia’s abilities – and you get the feeling that Carriger has had this planned all along – none of it comes across as invented for this book.  Which either means she’s brilliant at long term plotting – or she’s really good at faking it.

I’ve read all the Finishing School books* that have been released so far – and I can’t wait to see how that pans out – because the world of 20 years before Alexia is very different.  And I’m so excited to read Prudence and see what happened next.

The Parasol Protectorate books
My soul is so outrage that the set doesn’t match I can’t shelve them like this

Gosh this review is gushy.  Sorry.  Now this is where I would usually put links to the book of the week so you can run away and buy it.  But if you haven’t read the other four books in the series first, you really won’t appreciate it – so go and buy Soulless from Amazon or Foyles or Waterstones or on Kindle and get started on Alexia’s story.  I’m off to re-read them.  And don’t tell me off if there’s some more Carriger on here soon…

* In fact Etiquette and Espionage was my first Carriger book – thank you NetGalley for throwing that one in my path – and after I read that and Curtsies and Conspiracies  and then started on The Parasol Protectorate.  NB in light of the Wrong Size issue in my Parasol set, I am reading Finishing School on Kindle – and waiting til the end of the series to buy myself a matching set.  What kind of crazy person am I?!

My Shelving solution
My Shelving Solution – but I cannot allow a repeat of this situation with the Finishing School books!