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From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes a new novel in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of Alexia Tarabotti.

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?

357 pages, Hardcover

First published March 17, 2015

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About the author

Gail Carriger

56 books14.8k followers
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. Join the Chirrup for sneak peaks of upcoming giggles: http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,078 reviews
Profile Image for Gehayi.
84 reviews17 followers
April 14, 2017
I don't know when I've been so disappointed in a book.

I loved The Parasol Protectorate series. I pre-ordered this book precisely because I loved Alexia's story so much and I couldn't wait to read more about her and her daughter being awesome together in steampunk supernatural London. This is definitely not the book I was expecting.

Warning...from here on, there are spoilers.

Let me list the problems with this book:

1) The plot is nonexistent.

There should be a plot. The premise is that Alexia's daughter, Prudence, is sent to India by Lord Akeldama, ostensibly to investigate some tea plants. This sounds so studiously innocuous that I was certain for most of the book that it was merely an inane cover story and that Prudence—pardon me, Rue—would deduce this at some point and then get involved in something dashing and adventurous and not remotely respectable. And, to be fair, a plotlet involving werebeings from India who want autonomy and who do NOT want to be allied with the British Crown, thanks ever so, does show up…eventually.

Unfortunately, Rue is not remotely prepared for her role as spy and never shows the slightest inclination to change. She blunders from disaster to disaster, never understanding clearly what's going on around her and surrounded by political factions who are under the bizarre impression that when this blunt-spoken young twit says she doesn't understand something, she's being subtle. She does not plan well, which I would think that a spy would have to do; she treats most people who are not of her social class (i.e., almost everyone) with patronage and mild contempt; she lacks her mother's practicality; she is ignorant of almost everything except society and fashion, which made her extraordinarily boring; and she is overwhelmingly arrogant, which she's aware of but for some strange reason regards as a virtue. Add in the fact that she feels entitled to steal supernatural powers from werebeings and vampires any time she likes, whether she has permission or not. Then recall that she is spoiled, titled, rich, privileged and is quite literally the only one of her kind—a metanatural, the child of a werewolf and a soulless human. It's as if she were the love child of Veruca Salt and Renesmee Cullen.

Two of Rue's three companions also routinely get in the way of anything plot-related happening through sheer inanity. Prim Tunstall is a fluttery featherhead who thinks about nothing but fashion and manners and who forces Rue to leave for India early, lest Prim's mother, the former Ivy Hisselpenny, hear that she wore a walking dress instead of a carriage dress. This is not hyperbole. This is literally what happens.

Quensal Lefoux, the son of Angelique and the adopted son of inventor Madame Lefoux, is Rue's second companion. He is supposed to be handsome, rich, brilliant with inventions and engines, slightly rude, and a bit of a rake. Like almost all alpha males in fiction, he patronizes and talks down to Rue, perpetually mansplains, and generally says that he despises her while matching his actions to his words. Since he and Rue have absolutely no chemistry, can't stand each other, and fight constantly, their pairing up is all but foreordained.

The third companion is Percy Tunstall, Prim's twin brother. Percy is actually useful; he's extremely bright, speaks dozens of languages, and not remotely interested in society or sex. He is never happier than when he is surrounded by stacks of books and petting his cat Footnote. It would not take much effort to read Percy as an autistic asexual. Because he is the one who loves reading everything, he serves as researcher as well as navigator on this little expedition.

Sadly, Percy receives no respect. Although he is helpful throughout and rarely gets flustered, no matter how dire the circumstances, Rue never loses an opportunity to make fun of Percy (sometimes in her head, but often to his face). Quensal derides him as incompetent, which he is not. His twin sister is ashamed of him and tells him that he's hopeless. There's no turning point at which Rue, Quensal and Prim realize that they're being vicious little toads, either. Percy remains the butt monkey for the entire book. And the readers are supposed to agree with this assessment.

All of this would have been enough to kill the entire book, but then you get the second problem:

2) Cultural appropriation.

Writing about a different culture is titchy at best. When the lead is an ignorant, bullying, uncurious, entitled oaf like Rue, doing so requires a far more delicate touch. And there isn't one. This is India during a steampunk version of the British Raj—colonization and conquest.

And it's supposed to be funny. The British army is treated like a bluff, good-natured and harmless punch line.

Now, that's bad enough. But there's a subtler problem. The Indians—the people whose country this is—are all but invisible. Two Indian porters show up at the beginning, greeting Rue as "Missee Sahib," which made me cringe. And there is later a crowd scene at a market. And that's IT. There are no Indian mortals as characters. No Indian characters get names. Only one gets lines. Indians have effectively been erased from India…which is one hell of a trick, considering that this book is supposed to be about Indians wanting autonomy and recognition.

And then there's the disrespect with which the Hindu religion is treated. First of all, I do not believe that Indians would call a train engine shaped like an elephant a Ganesha. Ganesha is an elephant-headed god, not an elephant.

I also feel fairly certain that, despite what the narrative says, no devout Hindu would ever mistake a white girl with matted, snarled hair, bleeding, blistered feet, and semi-clad in a shawl for Lakshmi, Hindu goddess of fortune, love and beauty.

Both of these things happen in the book, and both of them had me screaming, "What were you THINKING?" at Carriger.

Even worse, the book takes two groups from the Ramayana—the Vanaras and the Rakshasas—and reinterprets them as weremonkeys and vampires. The stories about the Vanaras vary; some interpretations see them as monkeys, some as monkeylike humanoids, and some as tribal people who dress like monkeys. But the mystical part of their story is clear—they were created by the gods to fight the Rakshasas, human-eating demons who can fly, vanish, change shape, and so on. And the Rakshasas are living beings, not undead ones.

It might be worth mentioning that the one Vanara who speaks tries telling Rue about their divinely ordained opposition to the Rakshasas. Sadly, Rue instantly disregards this belief at the core of Vanara existence as silly native superstition. And she never realizes that her opinion about other peoples' beliefs isn't remotely relevant. She spends much of the last quarter of the book trying to get the Vanaras to sign a treaty with Britain, despite Britain being allied with the Vanaras' enemies and despite the Vanaras regarding such behavior as completely dishonorable.

And granting them self-rule or independence? Rue never even suggests that being written into the treaty. When the Vanara prince tells her that this is what they want, Rue dismisses it out of hand, saying that no one progresses backward. Just when I thought I couldn't hate Rue any more, she proved me wrong.

Ultimately, too, the treaty is worthless. It's made on behalf of part of the British government, but not all. Moreover, Rue doesn't have the authority to make treaties on behalf of her country, and the treaty that she drew up leaves out the Queen, her mortal advisors, Parliament, etc., completely. Rue even thinks to herself that she didn't consider mortals when drawing up the treaty because to her, mortals don't matter.

This means that the Vanaras are left with a treaty that has little force in law and that may not even be sanctioned by Parliament or the Queen. Yeah, that doesn't have any unfortunate implications at all. But this is still treated as a victory for Rue. Figure that out.

3) The clothes.

The narrative never shuts up about gowns, fabrics, colors, ruffles, hats, shoes, parasols, etc. Such descriptions go on for three or four pages at a time. It's boring. About 90% of those descriptions should have been cut; there was only one point at which Rue's clothing was relevant (at a garden party). After that, she spent most of the novel semi-naked or outright naked. So really, why focus so much on clothes if the lead isn't going to wear any?

4) The dirigible.

Yes, Rue owns a dirigible. It is called, I wince to report, the Spotted Custard. I remain convinced that Carriger wanted to call it the Spotted Dick (the name of a popular dessert in England) but was overruled. It is a remarkably silly name for a dirigible, but Rue does come up with a rationalization for this; it needs a fluffy name to sound like a pleasure craft and not a spy vessel. All right, I can understand that. But…a dirigible painted to resemble a black and red ladybug will not be the most invisible vehicle, especially against a blue sky. I don't think anyone could fail to spot an airship that resembled a giant ladybug…and after all, if anyone knows it's a spy vessel, then the name and the paint job will give it away instantly. (The false name that Rue uses for it is no better—Dandelion Fluff on a Spoon.)

But the awful thing about the dirigible is that it produces a whitish pudding-like substance while simultaneously producing a flatulent noise. And the narration leaves no doubt of that. I can't tell you how many times I ran into the sentence, "The Spotted Custard farted." It was never a good joke, but it got old fast.

By the end of the book, I only wanted to do two things—to hurl Rue, Quensal and Prim off of the dirigible into the Antarctic, and to find Percy and his cat a much happier universe to dwell in.

I would buy books by Gail Carriger again; she can tell a good story, and she has proven that. But this isn't good. I regret buying this self-consciously arch twaddle. And I will not be buying the sequel.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews920 followers
July 14, 2017
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 constantly 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.



Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,161 reviews2,011 followers
January 1, 2020
I loved everything about this book! It was light hearted, it was funny, the narrator was perfect - all those weird voices she had to do and every one was spot on.

The last time I saw Prudence she was a toddler who took on werecub form and ran off down the streets of London with her father giving chase. She has grown up since then and in this series she has taken over as MC from her mother. There were many references to the previous series which was nice.

I enjoyed the characters of the now adult Rue, Prim and Percy, all of them a delightful mixture of silly and smart. Poor Rue, sent on a dangerous mission to India with a distinct lack of information and advice from her three parents, still manages to come out on top. At least we hope so. Things still have to be explained back home.

I need to read the next book asap.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
411 reviews2,561 followers
August 18, 2015
[5 Stars] I adored this book. I feel like I can't say much because it will spoil the Parasol Protectorate series, but if you are a fan of Parasol Protectorate you need to read this one. I found myself laughing out loud multiple times, and it has all of the wit and intelligence of her other books. The characters are fascinating, and I particularly love the way they interact with each other. I also adored the glimpses we got of characters from the Parasol Protectorate and the references to that series in general. I'm not sure if I love Prudence as much as I love Alexia, but I still thought she was a fantastic protagonist. ALSO, can we just talk about Quesnel because QUESNEL. Also, if you haven't read any Gail Carriger yet, what are you doing? Get on that! Her books are positively topping!
Profile Image for Ruman.
587 reviews
August 1, 2020
1.5 stars!

How can Gail Carriger - the one who wrote the awesome Parasol Protectorate series - make this awful book?

Prudence is the most obnoxious, spoiled, self-absorbed heroine I have ever read. She touches supernatural people without permission, and thus takes their werewolf curse or vampirism. She has no cultural sensitivity whatsoever, and she looks down on everyone.

Rue's best friend, Primrose, is a complete airhead. I wanted to chuck this book across the room whenever she spoke, which was a lot. All Prim cares about is fashion, added to the fact that she has the personality of a wall.

Prim's twin brother, Percy, the only character in Prudence that actually has skills and brains, was constantly put down and mocked by Prudence. It's a real shame Carriger wrote Prudence this way because just when I thought I couldn't hate her more...I do. Let's be honest, the only one in this trio that could actually go far in life is Percy. Plus, can you actually believe that Prim is ashamed of Percy because he's a bookworm? What a snob.

Overall, Prudence includes:
-No plotline.
-Uninteresting characters.
-Cultural appropriation.
-A suffocating focus on fashion.
-Flowery language that Carriger used perfectly in Parasol Protectorate, but became so over-the-top in Prudence that I was in a state of total confusion the whole time.
-A reintroduction of characters from Parasol Protectorate, whom I did love previously, but somehow dislike now?!?! The way they were written was self-presumptuous.

Original review on April 10, 2015.
Re-edited on August 1, 2020.
Profile Image for Nitzan Schwarz.
1,040 reviews218 followers
Shelved as 'tbr-not-owned'
December 21, 2013
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! *hyperventilating*
This is about Macon and Alexia's daughter, isn't it?
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG 2015 come already! *sobs*
Profile Image for Choko.
1,178 reviews2,570 followers
August 27, 2020
*** 4 ***

"...“How did we go from tea to death so quickly?” wondered Quesnel. “Sometimes,” said Prim darkly, “there is a very fine line between the two.”..."

This was very cute. Not as wonderful as the original series, but I have hope it will improve as we go. After all, it is hard to follow character as Alexia Tarabotti! The infant inconvenience, Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, or Rue, now grown to the age of 20, is trying to come out of the shadow of her three overwhelming parents. It will be difficult both for her and the author to pull that off, but I am rooting for them!

"...“Rue carried her mother's parasol, which was too ugly to match any of her outfits, but was more sturdy than any of her fashionable ones. This one, felt Rue, could really cause damage to a noggin if applied with enough enthusiasm. Somehow this made her feel more secure about life in general.”
― Gail Carriger, Prudence”..."
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,008 reviews2,598 followers
March 17, 2015
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/03/17/b...

I didn’t expect to like this one so much. First of all, I haven’t read any of Gail Carriger’s other books save for Soulless which I found quite enjoyable, but ultimately the emphasis on Alexia and Maccon’s romance kept me from diving headfirst into the Parasol Protectorate. Then along came Prudence. Described as a new series featuring the adventures of Alexia’s daughter, this book sounded like a lot of fun. More importantly, it also looked different enough from the original series that I figured I might just give it a shot.

I’m so glad I did. Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama AKA “Rue” is definitely a force to be reckoned with! Like I said, I never got beyond the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series so this was my first introduction to this spirited young lady. I didn’t feel disadvantaged at all for not having read the original series; Carriger does a great job making sure that all her readers can hop aboard at this point and enjoy this book on an equal footing.

Witty, vivacious, and oh so much less prim and proper than her mother, I just couldn’t help but fall in love with Rue. She possesses an ability not unlike Alexia’s, being able to negate the effects of supernatural beings simply by making skin-to-skin contact with them, except she does this by temporarily stealing their powers. So for example, by touching a werewolf, she in turn becomes a werewolf, leaving her hapless victim mortal for the rest of the night or at least until Rue gets far enough away to snap the magical tether. Needless to say, high society has gotten quite used to the sight of Rue running around the city in wolf form wearing nothing but her bloomers, much to Alexia’s chagrin…which just goes to show how different Rue is from her mother.

Also, for much of Rue’s life she was raised away from her birth parents by her foster “second father”, the vampire Lord Akeldama. When trouble threatens to strike Dama’s tea interests in India, he tasks Rue with the mission to investigate, because as everyone knows, tea is SERIOUS BUSINESS. To help her complete her quest, Dama also gifts Rue with her very own dirigible, which our protagonist promptly dubs The Spotted Custard.

Oh God. Never have I wished this hard for illustrations in an adult novel. What I wouldn’t give to see a picture of Rue’s red-with-black-spotted dirigible, because Rue being Rue, of course the first thing she does is commission it to be painted like a gigantic ladybug. Oh, and due to some kink in its engineering, the ship also farts loudly upon liftoff.

Yeah, I just about fell out of my chair from laughing so hard.

Such preposterous, over-the-top situations are everywhere in this book, making this a very humorous read – another point Prudence has over Soulless, in my opinion. This fact makes the novel a regular comedy of errors, made even funnier by Rue’s traveling companions who are all delightful but just as hilariously incompetent at pulling off a mission of espionage. You have straight-laced Primrose who forces the entire expedition to depart early due to an unexpected fashion faux pas, the scholarly navigator Percy who fills up his stateroom with more books than the necessities for basic living, and the rakish Quesnel who is constantly distracting Rue with his good looks and casual flirtations. Can India survive the crew of The Spotted Custard? That’s the million dollar question indeed.

Another thing I really enjoyed is just the light smattering of romance, which in no way detracts from the main storyline. Something’s definitely brewing between Rue and Quesnel, but their relationship is secondary to the central plot which focuses on adventure. There’s no doubt that the exciting journey to India was what made this book such a joy to read, bolstered by Rue’s eccentric brand of diplomacy and the antics of her friends and crew.

I’m also happy that while many of the major characters of Parasol Protectorate are featured in this book, the author keeps their appearances limited. This is strictly Rue’s story, and I couldn’t be more pleased with that. Of course, if you’ve read the series featuring her parents you’ll have a better grasp on the lore and characters’ backgrounds, but I didn’t and I still had a blast. I actually liked Prudence a lot more than Soulless; after all, I didn’t get a jump on the rest of the books in Alexia’s series, but I’m very impatient now for the next book of Rue’s! I’m so glad that Carriger decided to focus on this character, and I can’t wait to follow Rue and her friends on their future adventures with The Spotted Custard.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 66 books16.8k followers
June 28, 2016
I finished listening to this today! I had two long car trips, which helped speed things along :)

If you liked/loved Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series then you'll enjoy this one as well - same world and most of the same characters (or relatives of those characters). The narrator is different than the lady who read the Soulless books so there are a few different pronunciations, but Moira Quirk does an excellent job. I believe Moira also reads Carriger's Finishing School books, which I also enjoyed.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,881 followers
April 14, 2015
Fans of Gail Carriger, do you remember that spark of delightful, outrageous humor that was there in Soulless, but seemed to have all but disappeared in later books? It was probably somewhere collecting interest because it’s back in full force in Prudence. This is Carriger’s best work since her debut, it’s fresh, full of adventure and has just enough romance to keep us glued to our reading chairs.

Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, Rue to her friends, daughter of Alexia and Conall Maccon and adopted daughter of Lord Akeldama, was mostly raised by her second father for her own safety. Her birth parents lived next door to stay close to her, but Dama was always her biggest ally and friend. As a result of her unusual upbringing (and her excellent genes), Prudence is a highly opinionated young lady, resourceful, smart and naturally very fashionable. She is also a bit of a tomboy and she doesn’t concern herself too much with society’s many rules, much to her adoptive father’s delight.

Prudence and her Dama conspire regularly to manipulate Alexia into allowing Rue to do all sorts of outrageous things, like traveling to India to investigate tea. Once convinced, of course, Alexia easily convinces her husband to do exactly the same. So begins Rue’s journey on Spotted Custard with her carefully selected crew and her trusted friends.

Like their mothers before them, Rue and Prim Tunstell are the best of friends. Prim is so very different from Ivy, though. She is flawless, stylish, and she always does the right thing. She outshines Rue regularly, but Rue is never even a bit resentful. She just loves Prim like a sister and doesn’t care about petty things. Prim’s brother Percy is, of course, just as interesting, but in an entirely different way. He is a bookworm if there ever was one, with all sorts of knowledge and very little practical application. His obliviousness was a constant theme in the book and it never stopped being hilarious.

“You’re not worried he’ll escape?” Prim watched her brother with affectionate exasperation.
“I’ve given instructions for the footmen and porters to wall him in with his own books. By the time he reads his way out, we should be ready to float off.”
“You’ll leave a feeding hole?”
“I’m not a monster.”

The romance begins with (mostly feigned) antagonism and proceeds to entertain with hilarious banter. I liked Quesnel Lefoux for Rue. He was always more than capable of standing up to her, which not many people can. I enjoyed seeing her manipulated for once, and her unacknowledged jealousy made me laugh all the time. This is merely the beginning of what promises to be a delightfully entertaining romance.

Carriger made sure that you can easily enjoy Prudence even if you haven’t read the original series. There are many links that connect the two, but even without those, the novel is simply wonderful. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Profile Image for Ash.
39 reviews23 followers
January 16, 2015
As an existing fan of Gail Carriger's work, I was expecting to like this novel a lot. I don't think I was quite expecting to like it THIS much.

Rue is a very different creature to her mother, in a later time and a more relaxed era, and the tone of the novel very much follows suit - ruder, cheekier, almost bawdy (I'm pretty certain Alexia would not have stood for a device that ejaculated sticky white fluid at climactic moments, no matter how useful). There's less whimsy, as Rue's mischievous practicality gets to work, and the back-and-forth bickering between Rue and the other main characters moves the narrative swiftly between dramatic set-pieces of just the right mix of dramatic and absurd. The novel also builds significantly on previous books; many major (and some minor) characters make appearances and previous plot points from both series are referred to or expanded upon (in some cases, dramatically expanded upon). Prudence, however, is much more clearly set up as part of a series - while at the end of Soulless there was a satisfying resolution and a romantic payoff, in Prudence there are a number of teasers for secrets yet to come, as well as a clear sense at the end that although they might have solved their immediate problem the real trouble is only just beginning. Not to mention it seems that Rue's love life is going to be far less smooth than her mothers, or even Sophronia's was.

All in all, though a lot of the joy to be had from this book stems from knowing the previous series, I also think it has a lot to offer a new reader, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys snickering quietly to themselves while plotting the relative romantic trajectories of various characters.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,830 reviews358 followers
October 6, 2021
Halloween Bingo 2021

For some reason, I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other Gail Carriger books that I have read. It still had the remarkable names, the comedy of manners, the spicy possible romance, and the antics of vampires and werewolves. Those details have always entertained me before, but it felt like I didn't really understand the reasons for things until very late into the novel. Perhaps I'm just cranky. Perhaps this book suffered in comparison to the completely adorable Miss Buncle's Book, which I just enjoyed.

Nevertheless, I liked this enough to finish it and to want to read the next installment. Rue's soul stealing talents are fun, as she can become any supernatural creature by making skin contact with them. When she steals werewolf abilities, the resulting end product is an exposed Rue trying to somehow maintain some modesty. It becomes obvious that Rue simply doesn't care quite as much as she is expected to.

Lord Akeldama has given his adopted daughter her own dirigible and sent her on a tea mission to India, seemingly to get her out of London and out of trouble. I was every bit as confused as Rue when all her instructions seemed to be missing the important bits and might even be misleading. In my opinion, there was a little too much of this dancing around the issues. Like Lady Maccon and Rue herself, I'm a pretty straightforward person. I would make a rotten spy. I haven't much patience for this much fiddling around.

Carriger has created a fun world and is having fun playing with her characters in it. I love both Quesnel Le Fou and Percy Tunstell. Their mutual resentment is amusing and I can see either one of them being a match for Rue. Mind you, Percy would have a difficult time of it to break through his pseudo-brother status to catch the young woman's attention. The only way to find out is to read on.

Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 29 books5,609 followers
August 12, 2019
I wish I loved tea as much as everyone in this book does! It does seem wonderful that there should be a way to broker peace between warring factions that merely involves sitting quietly, taking tea, and perhaps eating a well-buttered muffin!

I am always delighted anew by Carriger's books: the fashions, the hilarity of the conversations, the luscious descriptions of attractive people in fancy clothes eating pastries! And then of course, there's the action, the magic, and more than a little sensuality. (This book was a bit, ahem, tamer than the Parasol Protectorate, by the way.)
Profile Image for Tabitha (Lovely Books Blog).
402 reviews27 followers
May 10, 2015
Read more reviews like this at http://lovelybooksblog.blogspot.com!

Every author out there has a book that just didn't quite turn out. Some of them are horrendous failures, but some are just books that are obviously not the authors best work. Prudence is one of those books. While I wouldn't call this book a failure, I wouldn't say it was Carriger's best work either. Though the writing was fantastic, as it always is, everything else from lack of plot to poor character development really brought this novel down.

The number one problem in this novel was our heroine, Rue. Bratty, rude, and annoying, she was everything I hate in a main character and more. I kept waiting for her to show some shred of intelligence but instead I was subjected to her shallow inner dialogue making fun of everyone and their fashion choices. Prim, her best friend, wasn't any better but I wouldn't have minded a shallow best friend character if the main character had shown any amount of smarts, which she didn't.

The other major thing wrong was that this novel had almost no plot at all. Things do start to pick up toward the very end, but other than that I was completely bored by the majority of the book. Most of the book was spent listening to Rue and Prim compare fashions and make fun of Prim's twin Percy, both of which were entertaining every once and awhile but honestly got old fast. Not only that but, I quickly grew tired of Rue bumbling around looking for "tea" when she had quite obviously embroiled herself in a different conflict and was too dumb to realize. Though the story had the potential for conflict every time I thought something was going to happen, it just didn't.

Though I couldn't stand any of the characters and the plot left much to be desired, there was one diamond in the rough and that was Quesnel. My favorite hero of Carriger's so far I fell absolutely in love with him and his rakish personality. The only bearable parts of the novel were the ones where he was around teasing Rue, dropping French endearments, and otherwise being completely swoon worthy. The only reason I kept plodding away at this one was so I could see more of Quesnel, and he didn't even play as big of a role as I would have liked.

Though I'm willing to read the next book (only because I'm so in love with Quesnel) I wasn't impressed by the first installment of The Custard Protocol series. Hopefully Rue grows up a little in the next one, but really, I'll just be reading for Quesnel.
Profile Image for Ashley Marie .
1,218 reviews376 followers
March 22, 2017
Fits right in with everything else in this unique universe, and exactly what I've come to expect from Gail. Having read both Finishing School and the Parasol Protectorate before jumping into the Custard Protocol, I love finding the Easter egg connections between old and new characters. :) Rue and her companions are a ton of fun, and I'm excited for Imprudence!
Profile Image for Sharon.
505 reviews257 followers
March 30, 2017
Adventure, humor, friendship, family, romance, mystery, witty dialogue, etiquette lessons, paranormal, politics, cute cats, historical yet futuristic fiction = Steampunk (or at least steampunk the way Gail Carriger does it)

This is not as good as the original series, but it is still highly enjoyable. My heart melts seeing Alexia and Conall again. I am definitely interested in seeing where Prudence’s journey will take her. She is brave and reckless and fun-loving and kinda of a badass. My only complaint would be that it breaks my heart a bit that she complains about her mother a lot... which I suppose every daughter does, but I'm just protective, because my fangirl heart is saying, "Noooo. That's my fav you're talking about." Still, I'm hoping to see in the future books that Prudence would appreciate Alexia and Conall more, and grow up just a little more.

One of my favorite things about this book is the friendship. I adore Prudence and Primrose's (Ivy's daughter, which is perfect) friendship and harmony. Some good support and cute bantering here.

I’m giving it 4 stars. Everything in this book is just so cute and funny, and also somehow thoughtful and complex. I love it. I love the creativity of the plot, the endearing characters, the sense of adventure, the funny and weird fixation on tea and etiquette – loooove it.

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Is there a happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level?
Favorite scene?
What age level would be appropriate?


The original series is one of my absolute favs, so seeing this spinoff makes me simultaneous excited and scared. I have been pushing this off for almost 2 years now because idk how it can beat the original. I think I'm ready now to find out~~
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,387 reviews293 followers
October 11, 2015
I was thinking of giving this one an ok rating, but, did I think it as ok? Did I like a single thing about it?

Not really.

Every single character was an idiot. So freaking annoying. I would not want to be friends with any of them. I would not even want to be in the room with any of them. I did meet 3 previous characters, but even they had changed.

The book tried WAY too hard. WAAAAAAY! No, that is not funny. No, that is not cute. That is pushing it beyond. It was trying. It was exhausting to read.

There was no plot. Suddenly there was one. And I was all, this makes no sense. I do not like this. I would have DNFed if I had not loved Soulless, but even that series turned sour at the end.
Profile Image for Marina.
909 reviews167 followers
April 14, 2017
Compared to Gail Carriger's previous series - both Parasole Protectorate and Finishing School - The Custard Protocol is shockingly tame.

Rue is positively proper in comparison to the two previous heroines, which really skewed both my interest and liking of the book towards the negative. Soulless was a breath of fresh air, considering Alexia was witty, sharp, and a trouble maker who managed to subvert social norms and adhere to them. Sophronia was that way as well, attracted to danger, adrenaline, and risking reputation at every turn and yet learning how to do so and still remain proper. But both Alexia and Sophronia were interested in adventure first, social niceties later.

Prudence reads like the Carriger wants to continue writing in the world, but she ran out of ideas... or at least interesting heroines. While Parasole Protectorate was also a comedy of manners, Prudence takes it both too far and not far enough. The commentary doesn't have the same bite and sass to it as the other two did and sometimes gets a little too weird. Even though Prudence is a "trouble" maker, she is also a bit too safe and normal. I understand that part of the way Rue turned out depends on how much control the adults had over her childhood and how much freedom the other two had, so I can't really blame her. But man, does it make for boring reading.

Rue is a metanatural, able to steal other supernatural's shape and abilities when she touches them. Even by supernatural standards, she's a freak, so she'd been raised in very controlled circumstances. Her parents -- a werewolf and a soulless, to keep her alive, had to give her up, to be raised by a vampire. While wild and a tad spoiled, Rue is very much a lady, and a tad sheltered- even if surrounded by dangerous creatures of the night.

So when she's given her first task by her vampire father she jumps at the opportunity of adventure and freedom from several sets of parents. With her ragtag crew, they set off to India, where they discover a new set of were-creatures. Except they have floated into an age-old supernatural civil war.

I found all the characters interesting and useful in their own right, but again, not so colorful and almost tame in comparison to the other teams.

While not necessary to read the other two series before this one, I would still recommend it. As I would recommend this series to all the fans of Parasol Protectorate and The Finishing School series.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
October 30, 2015
5 Words: Steampunk, tea, travel, fashion, were-what?

Full review to come.

This was awesome and I loved it. I loved the nods to the other books she's written. I loved how the world she built just keeps on growing. I loved Rue and Prim.

But it wasn't as good as Parasol Protectorate. I loved the nods to the characters, getting to meet them again, but it kind of felt like one last time. The last time I'd see Alexia and Connall. The last time I'd see Lyall. The last time I'd see Akeldama. And I hope it's not.

Prudence is very different from Alexia, and I think this is why I didn't like it so much. After her mother's dry humour and huge curiosity, Prudence was just so different. She was over-excited and bouncy and even flamboyant. Although with Dama as a dad it's not hard to see why. Nurture over Nature?
Profile Image for Wiebke (1book1review).
872 reviews495 followers
July 8, 2016
This is one enjoyable start of a new series. The characters play really well together, the setting is familiar and new at the same time, and the story doesn't rush anything.

I really enjoyed the time Carriger took to set a scene always paying attention to clothes and tea - as we are used to by her.

The story itself is not action packed, but the book lives from the interactions and banter of the four main characters.

I am looking forward to the next in the series!

Rereading this just improved it and it was so much more fun. Can I please have Imprudence now?
Profile Image for Cori Reed.
1,135 reviews379 followers
July 22, 2018
While fun, I did not enjoy this book as much as the other Gail Carriger books I've read. I'll definitely keep reading the series though.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,934 followers
May 3, 2016
So, Gail Carriger has long been a wonderful author for me, ever since I read the parasole Protectorate series by her. I not only feel completely in love with the characters of the Parasole Protectorate, I also just adored the flouncy, spiffing way that the characters were thrust into adventures of perilous and peculiar sorts all over the place. This new series is no different, I loved the characters and I found myself quite captivated by the adventure they went on. We do get returning characters (which is marvellous) and we also see our new main character Rue (short for Prudence) once she's all grown up and is starting to make her own ripples in the world by adventuring herself.

I have to say, the cameos of the other characters were hugely exciting and although my favourite characters from the previous series didn't have a large part, they made me smile when they did show up. With that said Rue and Prim (her delightful friend) are magnificent on their own and they put on quite the spectacle, running through the streets in bloomers and travelling by airship all over the place. I found that the adventure took a lesser role to the introduction of the characters, but it was all still good fun and a fantastic romp!

The pacing and over-exaggerated pomp of this series never fail to cheer me and make me enjoy what I'm reading and that was certainly the case here. Things such as the nickname 'Puggle' the cat's name 'Footnote' and the bizarre tendencies and eccentricities of the characters kept me very amused throughout. Basically, this was so much fun! 4*s overall, and I look forward to the next one coming out so I can read that too :D
Profile Image for Thea Maia.
11 reviews1 follower
December 6, 2015
This is a HUGE disappointment. Nothing happens for the first half section of the book, other than extremely long introductions to characters. The jokes are being repeated over and over and are low brow flatulence jokes. I am just shocked that this normally well plotted and funny author has written such a book. My husband and I couldn't even get very far past halfway. We were too bored. Prudence, the main character is the least interesting character.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Leigh.
263 reviews18 followers
March 25, 2015
Loved it! It was nice getting a small glimpse of the characters I loved in the Parasol Protectorate series. Prudence is all grown up. She is an interesting combination of her parents...wit, creativity, dramatic flare and of course her metaphysical abilities. Can't wait for the next book!
Profile Image for Jo.
311 reviews37 followers
April 18, 2015
Originally reviewed for & posted at Vampire Book Club

Review source: copy provided by publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

When I found out there was to be a spin-off/sequel series to Gail Carriger’s truly brilliant Parasol Protectorate series, I’m not going to lie, there was arm flailing. Prudence, The Custard Protocol Book the First, takes place roughly twenty years later, and has the daughter of Lord and Lady Maccon, Prudence, at its helm.

Quite literally, in fact, as for much of the book we join Prudence, her best friend Primrose and a delightfully eclectic (and often eccentric) cast of characters aboard The Spotted Custard, her new dirigible. Gifted the craft by her adopted vampire father, Lord Akledama, Rue has been charged with flying to India in search of a new tea venture. But when you’re the world’s only known metanatural (able to ‘steal’ a supernatural’s abilities, rending them mortal and temporarily take on those immortal abilities herself), things rarely go smoothly. She quickly finds herself up to her (very stylishly attired) neck in supernatural politics, ones that seem decidedly more complex than tea (although not necessarily more urgent, it is tea after all).

I have to admit that Rue and I got off to a bit of a rocky start—more my fault than hers, mainly because I wanted her to be Alexia and she isn’t. She is more impulsive and less pragmatic than her mother. Whilst I loved seeing all my old favorites, it wasn’t until Rue left London behind and floated off on her adventure that I put all that behind me and embraced her as a main character. She’s witty, caring and capable. She certainly isn’t perfect, making mistakes along the way but she learns from those and blossoms in her responsibility as captain. I think Prudence falls in to the new adult category—there’s certainly a sense of coming of age in Rue’s journey.

But she doesn’t take this journey alone. There is a stellar cast of secondary characters, including twins Primrose and Percy (children of Ivy, Alexia’s hat-obsessed best friend) and Chief Engineer Quesnel Lefoux. Each has a distinct personality, bringing his or her own strengths and weakness to the adventure. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Rue and Prim. There was plenty of sharp-tongued flirting between Rue and Quesnel. And while I don’t think Rue is naïve, I’m not sure she fully understands her, nor Quesnel’s, feelings—and I’m absolutely looking forward to watching her figure them out.

I’m beyond in love with the world Carriger has created and her imagination never ceases to amaze me. It’s exciting and colorful, filled with ingenious inventions and glorious attention to detail, especially concerning Victorian fashion and etiquette. There were moments in Prudence where I felt it tilted slightly away from endearingly whimsical towards silly (The Spotted Custard emitting farting noises for example), but these were few and far between. I particularly liked getting to experience the world as a variety of supernaturals thanks to Rue’s metanatural abilities, some familiar and some new.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, Prudence has a cracking plot. Well paced and with plenty of action, it soon had me swept along in local legends and Lord Akledama’s web of espionage. The combination of historical, steampunk and paranormal works brilliantly, particularly in this world where the Empire has embraced the latter.

Prudence is a wonderful beginning to this new chapter in Gail Carriger’s world and a roaringly fun read. I can’t wait to see where this series takes Rue. If, like me, you’re a fan of the Parasol Protectorate I think you’ll be very happy. Equally—while you may miss some of the nuances—I do think it’s possible to read this if you haven’t read the previous series.

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex
Profile Image for Jenna.
3,450 reviews38 followers
September 20, 2019
Much better the second time round, and with the addition of a very entertaining audiobook reader, this has gone over well. The fashion details were either easier to unhear or perhaps more silly with the reader’s emphasis. Completely mixed up the titles of books one and two though. Oops.

I've enjoyed the entire Parasol Protectorate series and found the Finishing School series a not horrible addition to the world-building, especially with the cameos by my favorite French inventor. I'm still not quite sure how to take this new sequel series, the Custard Protocol and its heroine, the ridiculously long-named Rue. We last spotted the metanatural as a trouble-making toddler and now she's all grown up and off on her own adventures.

Unfortunately, it took so long for the actual feeling of an adventure to start up. About a third of the way in, I started to get pulled in to the story and wanting to find out what happened next as their rather awkwardly-named dirigible set off (it would have been much more amusing for the Spotted Custard to simply have been named the Spotted Dick.). I don't know if Alexia just had more to deal with on her own travels as a young lady, but most of the roadblocks that Rue faces are fashion-derived more than anything else. I do enjoy her ability but am still rather biased towards Alexia's risk-taking (because, really, if you hug a werewolf, you've still got a rather oversized muscular form to deal with. All Rue has to do is one touch and you've got all their powers.. it sounds rather Mary Sue-ish if hadn't been implemented as part of the lore).

I did wonder why Quesnel's ship didn't have an aethographic transmitter and, why, the technology seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. So many plot points wouldn't have been able to happen if said technology was set up, but then we might've got to the action faster.

Regarding the rest of the cast, Quesnel wasn't as intriguing a character as I thought he'd end up being, having been raised in a Hive with his mother who, remains, my favorite character, despite her brief, five-seconds of glory in this book, being described as a bony lady. Sigh. Prim was rather amusing if the fashion had been cut down, and I almost wish that Percy had indeed been the love interest rather than Quesnel. Not that I'm looking for a love triangle. And, of course, seeing Lady Kingair was wonderful, as well as her dapper Beta.

Regarding the supporting cast, I rather liked Spoo and Sekhmet. Spoo felt rather like the young Lefoux in the Finishing School series, which of course enamored me of her instantly. Sekhmet's mystery wasn't really one and I'd have liked to shake some sense into Rue. But hopefully even more of her character and voice will be divulged, rather than simply her beauty.

So, overall, an interesting continuation into the world that we were introduced to in the Parasol Protectorate. Not the most exciting or exhilarating but hopefully it'll lead to grander events in the sequel(s). With, fingers crossed, more cameos from the original cast. I wouldn't have considered this an adult novel despite Rue's supposed age. New Adult, at most, but she reads rather young. Oh. And beautiful cover.

Must read! Now! I still want a spin-off series of Madame Lefoux, though.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Narilka.
577 reviews39 followers
September 7, 2020
I enjoyed The Parsol Protectorate enough that was excited to see Gail Carriger had written a follow up series starring the infant inconvenient of the main characters in Parasol. Prudence's metanatural abilities showed promise of many hi-jinks to come, especially if she ended up as adventuresome as her mother. While we do get some metanatural running amuck, what mostly happens is a lot of silly nonsense.

"When all else failed – overwhelm with inanities."

And that basically sums up Prudence the first book in The Custard Protocol by Gail Carriger.

Twenty years have passed and little Prudence (Rue to her friends) is all grown up. Gifted her very own dirigible by her adopted father Dama, Rue immediately paints it like a lady bug, names it The Spotted Custard and is off to India in search of some tea plants her Dama is interested in.

I wish I could say there was more to the plot but, alas, that's basically it. A good 75% of the book is devoted to detailed descriptions of dresses and hats, society gossip and fart jokes. Yes, the sly wit of Parasol has been traded for fart jokes.

The main characters aren't much better. Rue is rather dense. It took her forever to realize that there was a lot more going on than tea. She seemed rather to stumble from event to event haphazardly instead of through any actual plan. Prim was very like early Ivy, completely focused on the right clothes and social niceties. I am not a fan of Quesnel, who is obviously going to be the romantic interest for later in the series. Percy was OK and quite possibly the hero of this one through his research though Rue gets credit in the end where she actually resolves what little there is of the plot.

So what did I enjoy? The supporting characters were fantastic. Miss Sekhmet and Spoo were great. The introduction of other were-forms into the Parasol universe was also brilliant and something I hope gets explored more. There are so many options for Carriger to pull from mythology. The part of the plot related to the politics that our characters are fairly oblivious of was also interesting and a pity it wasn't focused on. Seeing favorite characters from the first series was also nice.

I wonder if reading this series out of publication order hurt my enjoyment at all. I might have to try the first book of Finishing School before returning for more Custard.
Profile Image for Amber J.
868 reviews54 followers
March 11, 2020
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.

So after reading the Parasol Protectant series, I was really excited to read this one and see how Prudence grew up and what her life would be like. I was a bit disappointed in this book, however. I didn't have the same shine the original series had. It's not as funny, the romance isn't as steamy, and the plot is honestly a bit boring.

What I do like about the book is that you get to see not just how Prudence grew up but also Primrose, Percy, and Quesnel. Although I'm a bit disappointed in all of their development.

Because I loved the first series so much. I'm going to continue with the series in hopes that it gets better. Although I know its rare, it does happen. I think I might try the audiobooks though instead.

How I choose my rating:
1* Hated it. I had to force myself to finish it.
2** Didn't like it. I didn't hate it but not sure why I finished it other than for some closure.
3*** I liked it. I had some issues with it, but as a whole it was good. I probably won't reread ever, but there is a chance I might finish the series. (If part of one) But if not it's not a huge loss.
4**** I really liked this book. Maybe not a work of genius, but highly entertaining. I might reread this, and I will finish the series. (If part of one) I would recommend to those I know hold interest in this book's content.
5***** I loved this book. I found little to no issues with it at all. I will be rereading this and probably more than once. I will finish the series and reread it multiple times. (If part of one) I will recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!

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