Book Review: Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Posted September 28, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

Book Review: Imprudence by Gail Carriger

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

Imprudence by Gail Carriger
Genres: YA, Steampunk
Published by Orbit on July 19, 2016
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Curtsies & Conspiracies, Etiquette and Espionage, Waistcoats & Weaponry, Manners & Mutiny, Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Prudence, Competence, Reticence, Changeless, Blameless , Heartless , Timeless

Second in The Custard Protocol New Adult steampunk series (and seventh in the Parasol Protectorate series) revolving around Prudence Maccon, the biological daughter of Lord and Lady Maccon and the “daughter” of Lord Akeldama.

My Take

Carriger seems to be using third person subjective point-of-view, from Rue’s perspective, and she does crack me up with her steampunk series (this is the third in this ongoing universe). She incorporates the culture, mores, and manners of Victorian England with the supernatural world — the vampires are obsessed with fashion while the wolves are growly fighters who do try to maintain some decorum — and Carriger infuses it all with a great deal of humor.

Although, I must say I was rather taken aback by Rue’s openness about wanting Quesnel to teach her about lovemaking. Carriger mentioned that Quesnel wasn’t socially acceptable to Rue’s supposed class status, but that was a tossaway. Rue isn’t actually considered all that eligible by anyone due to her state, so I don’t understand where Carriger was coming from, even if Lord and Lady Maccon do have a few issues.

I mostly like Quesnel, but I’m with Percy about that paper Quesnel published. What a jerk! And it does NOT negate what that prat, Percy, does later! And what’s with Rue no longer being welcome amongst the Pack?? That doesn’t seem fair. Lol, then there’s Percy with his own information cloud…*snigger*…

It’s a nice segue with Conall easing out and providing Rue an excuse to head to Egypt. After all, it’s a bit ripe, stripping Rue of her protections when two of the representatives on the queen’s Shadow Council are Rue’s parents!! Not that Egypt appears to be any safer for Rue when she commented on her classification, as “a national asset with permitted autonomy, not necessarily a British citizen with all the privileges thereof”. Whoaa. This promises some exciting times in the future.

I’m not sure if there’s actually a theme in here, as Imprudence is primarily an excuse to send Rue off on her adventures with her ship and crew.

Kids… What’cha gonna do?

The Story

Rue’s actions in India in Prudence, 1, have come back to bite her when Queen Victoria strips her of all protections. It’s open season on Rue for anyone who wants to take her down. But greater enticements aboard the Spotted Custard find the ship and her crew attacked again and again with speculation running rife.

It doesn’t help that Percy’s actions have made it imperative that they fly south faster than possible to rescue an endangered people.

The Characters

Prudence “Rue” Maccon, a.k.a., Lady Captain and Puggle, is a metanatural, a skin-stalker — by simply touching a vampire or werewolf, Rue turns them mortal and steals their shape. Until she’s a certain distance from them when the tether breaks, and then she turns back. Her code name will be “Agent Hot Cross Bun“. The Honourable Primrose “Tiddles” Tunstell is Rue’s best friend and accomplice with a desperate “desire” to be engaged…and always to the wrong type. She’ll also become “The Ledger“. The Right Honourable Professor Percival “Percy” Tunstall is Prim’s intellectual brother, always putting his valet, Virgil, to shame.

The Spotted Custard is…
…the dirigible Lord Akeldama gave Rue, which she has moored off Worple Road in Wimbledon. Percy is the navigator; Footnote is his cat. Quesnel Lefoux, Madame Genevieve Lefoux‘s adopted son (his real mother was the traitorous Angelique), is the ship’s engineer, one of the biggest flirts in London, and an inventor while Aggie Phinkerlington (a rabid member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers) is the head greaser and Quesnel’s second-in-command. She hates and despises Rue! The crew includes Tasherit Sekhmet, a female werelion who provides the crew with militia training and who has a passion for Prim; the eleven-year-old Spoo is the head deckling (Virgil is her best friend); Willard and Bork (Willard’s second) are deckhands; Cook; and, Nips.

Lord Conall “Paw” Maccon, Rue’s Alpha werewolf father, is married to Rue’s battle-axe of a mother, Lady Alexia Maccon, the preternatural muhjah on the Shadow Council, also known as “Agent Ruffled Parasol” as part of her cover with her secret club. Alessandro Tarabotti is Alexia’s now-deceased father, himself a preternatural — with a very bad reputation. Floote had been Grandmother Loontwill‘s butler and previous to that had been Mr Tarabotti’s valet for years. Evelyn and Felicity are the too-silly-for-words half-sisters to Alexia.

The Maccons live next door to Lord “Dama” Akeldama, who is Rue’s legal “father” (Heartless, 4), a rove vampire, and the potentate on the Shadow Council. He’s also a fashion icon and the nobbiest of the nobs with the handle, “Goldenrod”. Winkle is one of Dama’s drones and his current favorite.

The London Pack is…
…led by Lord Maccon, the Alpha, whose Beta is Sandalio de Rabiffano, a former favorite drone of Dama’s (Biffy, a.k.a., “Agent Wingtip Spectator”) who became a werewolf and now runs Drone Lefoux’s hat shop, Chapeau de Poupe (Blameless, 3). There are only eleven werewolves these days and includes Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings, who is the London Pack’s toffee-nosed very white Gamma. He and Alexia don’t quite get on. Rafe, Hemming, Bluebutton, Ulric, and Quinn are also part of the pack.

The London Hive is…
…ruled by Queen Ivy Hisselpenny Tunstell, a.k.a., the Baroness Tunstell…and “Agent Puff Bonnet”, who is Percy’s and Prim’s mother who had been/is best friends with Alexia, although Ivy is now the London queen of the Egyptian vampire hive (Timeless, 5) — who still has terrible taste in hats. Mr Tunstell, Ivy’s beloved husband, had perished when Prim was quite young. Gahijiis one of Ivy’s Egyptian vampires.

The Woolsey Hive is…
…where Countess Nadasdy rules, and Drone Lefoux fulfills her punishment.

Bombay, India, is…

…where the Kingair Pack was sent. Their Alpha is Lady Kingair while Uncle Lyall is now their Beta.

Lady Featherstonehaugh (one of Dama’s) was/is the wife of Brigadier Featherstonehaugh.

Egypt has been…

…Conall’s choice of a retirement base, as he and Alexia have hopes that the God-Breaker Plague will help his condition.

Drifters are nomadic desert tribes, cousins to the Bedouin, who took to the skies long ago, who look to the sacred war cats of their ancestors. Grandfather Panettone and Miss Anitra “Panettone (Prudence, 1) represent some of the Drifters. Baddu is her older brother. Other leaders include Ay.

The Daughters of Sekhmet once…
…ruled the Two Lands as gods, the hot breath of the desert winds. The Chosen Ones are equivalent to drones or clavigers. Mios is their only male. Tasherit’s fur sisters include the unwelcoming Queen Henuttawy and Miw-Sher “Lost Pride of the Desert Wind”.

Victorian England is…
…of course, ruled by Queen Victoria. Few people realize she had a secret Shadow Council made up of a potentate (vampire rep), a preternatural (soulless rep), and the dewan (werewolf rep) charged with maintaining civil relations amongst and between the supernatural groups and reporting to the Queen.

The Bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR) is…
…a division of Her Majesty’s Civil Service and charged with enforcement of supernatural laws and has been headed up by Lord Maccon. The Alpha’s curse is the beginning of the end. Anubis form can only be achieved by an Alpha and involves shapeshifting only one’s head. Ghost holders preserve dead bodies and maintain the ghost’s tether to their body. Drones are vampire companions, servants, caretakers, serve as food, and hope to be turned.

Mr Bapp is a builder who is refurbishing the Spotted Custard. Lieutenant Norman Plonks is but one of Prim’s fiancés. Baedeker’s is a travel guide. Enemies to metanaturals and preternaturals include the Templars, the Order of the Brass Octopus (a society of scientists), the British Royal Society, any collectors, sportsmen after exotic game, etc.

The Cover and Title

The cover is quite bright in its golden background, a montage of events from the story, as a dirigible flies through the sun setting behind a pyramid that places us in Egypt, with ruins to the right of a pale Rue, her back to us and her face in profile as she looks to the left, her hands a’cock. She’s quite the fashionable young lady in her red satin dress with its beaded yoke and the black riding hat with matching veil trailing down her back along with her reddish brown hair. An info blurb at the top is in a black-outlined yellow below which is the author’s name in a gray-outlined yellow. Centered behind Rue’s back is another info blurb “warning” us of the story’s contents. The title in a black-outlined bright yellow, also a’cock with the series information in white immediately below it, both set in a white silhouette of angled pencils, gears, and slim tools.

The title is all about the Imprudence of Lady Prudence Maccon.

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