Hey you guys. So, I’ve got a little but steadily growing corner of my bookshelf I’ve had to start calling the Carriger corner, as in books by Gail Carriger. It’s a fun, colorful, and witty corner of roughly eight or nine books by now. I keep hoping more and more that people will recognize Gail Carriger’s name when I throw it out there. With her ever growing list of popular titles, that’s becoming more and more likely everyday.
Carriger has a new book out now called Prudence, the Custard Protocol Book #1. That colorful title right there should give you a very good introduction to Carriger’s style. I haven’t been able to read that book yet myself, but I am certainly hoping to encourage some other people to. The thing about Carriger’s series, you see, is that they all take place in the same world, at slightly different points in time. Some of the characters carry over from previous series, and some do not. Besides this new series, the Custard Protocol, there’s the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. They all take place in the same supernatural steampunk world.
Like with many other reads, I didn’t choose to start this series on my own. In this particular case, it was my mother who said something like, “there’s this great new book out that has vampires in it…” and I wanted to stop her right there. I was as sick of vampires and werewolves then as I probably will be with zombies in a few months. It was too soon after crawling out of the smoldering wreckage that was my Twilight fan phase. I couldn’t possibly enjoy any book that had sexy men with pointy teeth and furry tails. She insisted, though, that I would like this new series by this one writer. It had… “whats it called? that weird old machine stuff you like?” “What mom?” “Scifi, like with robots, but in the Victorian era…” “You mean steampunk, mom?” “Yes, and she’s supposed to be really funny about it too.” Dammit. I was not tired of steampunk at all, and always looking for a decent romp through an overly mechanized 19th century adventure. Well, if the book was all tongue in cheek, I could enjoy that. I trusted my mother, and let her bring me a copy of Gail Carriger’s first Parasol Protectorate book, Souless. I was hooked. Carriger created such an intricately constructed alternate Victorian England society, and went about it with plenty of wit and whimsy. I truly didn’t even care that the main love interest was between a human and werewolf. Carriger made me not completely hate vampires and werewolves again. That’s certainly made my life a whole lot easier to bear. I no longer involuntarily gag when I catch a glimpse of an old Twilight poster stuffed in my closet or under the bed. So in that respect, these books have helped me heal some old, glittery vampire scars. Turns out, writing about supernatural creatures, even in a feminine or romantic style, can still be good writing, especially if the werewolves wear top hats out of a Victorian sense of style and decency.
As for the steampunk aspect of it all, weaponized fans, hatpins, and parasols are regularly employed, not to mention automatons and dirigibles. It’s some truly solid work that I wish could inform my own wardrobe and means of travel, but I’m just not quite that eclectic. Carriger is also very careful to replicate the societal order and sense of propriety in Victorian England, mostly fluff it up then mock it with her delicious tongue-in-cheek wit. With each and everyone of Carriger’s books, I can’t help but gallop through them. Even when there isn’t any fast paced action, the wit and humor of the piece always makes me tear through the pages just as quickly. Carriger’s fandom is growing just as quickly. I have a hunch that marketing her Finishing School series as a Young Adult romp was definitely a huge booster. It could also just as easily be that Carriger’s fan base had already grown pretty big by the time Finishing School came out, but since that series basically pitched as part Harry Potter, with its secret British school for especially talented children, part Twilight with the vampire and werewolf characters, and part Hunger Games with young people being taught to deal out death with cool weapons and fight moves, I really do feel the whole young adult angle helped spread around Carriger’s good name and style.
The only thing I do know, right now at least, about Prudence, is that this book will be following the adventures of Prudence, (shocker!) who is the daughter of The Parasol Protectorate protagonist, Lady Alexandria Tarabotti Maccon. From that single fact, I can say for sure this girl will kick ass. I’m not sure if it’ll be with a deadly parasol like dear old mum, or werewolf claws like her dad, or both, but I’m definitely excited to find out. I hope you’ll be excited enough to try out her other books, or maybe recommend them to a young, nerdy reader you know who really goes for kick-ass heroines and that old-timey sci-fi whats-it (steampunk, it’s called steampunk.) Either way, I can guarantee some positive results.