Sunday, March 22, 2015


Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)Prudence by Gail Carriger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is the first in a new series by Ms. Carriger, that takes place after the Parasol Protectorate series (Soulless et al) and in the same universe. Readers of that first series will recognize many characters in this book, though they play minor roles since this new series is based around the children of some of the original characters. I am a huge fan of the Parasol Protectorate books, so I was greatly anticipating this new book and series. However, if this book is any indication, it't not going to be as good.

I have two major issues with this book. The first is the general tone/tenor of the prose. Every scene is played to the hilt with over-the-top cheekiness. One can almost see the author saying, "Isn't this clever? Isn't this funny? Aren't I being ever so droll?" One of the things I enjoyed about the Parasol Protectorate was the droll humor. However, in that series, we were given little bits of it, spaced out throughout each book. This made the humor really hit home. Just as one enjoys sweets occasionally, and enjoys them all the more for this infrequency, a diet made up of only sweets becomes unbearble after a while, and one forgets why sweets were such a treat in the first place. Similarly, a book with little bits of humor sprinkled here and there is much more enjoyable than one where the humor is slathered on with a knife, and the reader can never escape it. It's really too much of a good thing! I had to keep putting the book down, because I just could not stomach yet another scene full of cloying humor.

My second big complaint is the egregious lack of proofreading. Let me list just a few of the most blatant errors:
1. The river in London is the Thames. While it may be pronounced "Tems" it is never spelled "Themes" - not even in America.
2. The pepper plant is the chili - with one "l", not 2!
3. The proper spelling is "quandary" not "quandry."
4."upclose" is not a word.
I won't even get into the poor use of adjective phrases, that leave the reader wondering at the target of the phrase. I am, frankly, appalled at the number and frequency of these errors. If this were a self-published book, I might be more understanding, but this book is published by a (seemingly) reputable publishing house. However, I fear for their reputation if this is the quality of writing they publish.

All of this notwithstanding, Ms. Carriger is a good storyteller, and overall, I enjoyed the book. The story was fun and inventive. But the unrelentingly cloying writing style, along with the poor quality of writing, keep me from giving this 4 stars. The fact that the Parasol Protectorate did not suffer from these issues makes it that much more of a disappointment for me. You can do better, Ms. Carriger!!

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