Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2)
By: Gail Carriger
Publication Date: July 19th, 2016
Rue and the crew of The Spotted Custard returned from India with revelations that shook the foundations of the scientific community. There is mass political upheaval, the vampires are tetchy, and something is seriously wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most inappropriate military types.
Rue has got personal problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they all really are… is frightened.
When the Custard is ordered to Egypt, transporting some highly unusual passengers, Rue’s problems go from personal to impossible. Can she get Percy to stop sulking? Will she find the true cause of Primrose’s lovesickness? And what is Quesnel hiding in the boiler room?
There wasn’t much that could have made me happier than finding Gail Carriger’s new book waiting for me before confronting a stressful weekend. Imprudence has been something I’ve been impatiently waiting for since it came out, and I did a happy dance just holding it.
The beginning, unfortunately, didn’t impress–it was choppy and immediate, almost too much so. But then, since I normally binge-read a Gail Carriger series straight, maybe that was because I was forced to start without that immediate sense of the previous book. In any case, after a few chapters things had settled down into a highly enjoyable storyline, featuring all of the hits from the previous book plus a few things besides.
I enjoy Gail Carriger’s long game, and her ability to weave her different series together. The plot of Imprudence had been building since the Soulless series(ie, 20 years before Imprudence), which made it much richer for those who were immersed in the Carriger world. It was fun to return to Egypt, the God-Breaker Plague, Floote and even some new-yet-not-all-that-surprising characters. There was even a slight nod to her Finishing School series, which I appreciated. I also liked seeing older characters from Rue’s perspective, such as exploring the relationship with her parents. However, I’m not sure how detailed it would have seemed to someone who didn’t know all of Carriger’s books. And, honestly, my understanding of Soulless spoiled the grandiose villain reveal…it just didn’t seem all that surprising.
Also, interestingly enough, the plot continued the anti-colonial stance of Prudence. Most obvious was Sekhmet’s rant about the Empire being the same thing as big-game hunters destroying beautiful things to bring back trophies. However, there were also some interesting discussions of ‘person-ness’, mostly related to how supernatural creatures fit into the human world, or are allowed to. Similarly, Rue’s independence among the Spotted Custard is both refreshing and bittersweet.
Which brings me to my absolute favorite part of the book, the love story. I adored Rue and Quesnel’s mostly-silly romance in Prudence, and from the moment Quesnel was introduced we saw that romantic-yet-ridiculous dynamic between them. I loved how Quesnel played the part of ‘teacher’, how he and Rue seemed determined to pretend that things were casual, and yet how at the end they ended up confessing their true feelings. It touched something in me (psychoanalysis: maybe because I pretend not to be a sappy romantic, but I really am one anyways?). Also, how Rue’s parents handle their relationship is nothing short of hilarious.
OK, and let’s just talk about Primrose for a moment. Because whatever is going on with her and Sekhmet, I ADORE IT. I just love how the Egyptian Werecat is slowly seducing the genteel, well-mannered Prim, and I can’t wait for them to really become a thing, even though I also appreciate how everyone is just allowing Prim to ease into things. Plus, a big hoorah for LGBTQ+ representation.
What I’m basically saying is that this is a classic Gail Carriger, a classic Rue tale, a classic wrap-up of the World of Soulless, and overall, just a classic.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.