Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Gail Carriger - Prudence

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 Crumpet 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?

Comment: Here's another book chosen for the alphabet challenge, this made a perfectly good P title.
I was also very curious about this story because I've loved the series that originated the appearance of this book/new series. The Parasol Protectorate was amazing, engaging, full of surprises and a style I really loved going through. I was so eager to have the same again with this story, featuring the child of the other series' main couple.
In this book, we meet Prudence, the daughter Alexia and Conall from the Parasol Protectorate had and that originated some twists in their series. Prudence is now a 20 year old woman always causing mischief and surrounded by her friends, decides to embark on a journey about tea, something very important to her and her second father, Lord Akeldama.
However, the journey isn't without some problems, meeting new people and challenges and even things Prudence couldn't anticipate.
But traveling to India isn't abut only Lord Akeldama's business...can Prudence do something to avoid scandals, international conflicts and the loss of precious tea?
Two things I need to say right away:
a) this is not like the series I loved so much and;
b) Prudence and her friends aren't as captivating as I hoped they would.
I was so happy to be reading a book where I really wanted to see the beloved characters that made me read non stop the other series, that it was with surprise I realized this cast wasn't like the other and I wasn't having fun...
The problem with expectations is that, when they aren't met, the reader always feels like it was misdirected or wronged somehow. I don't feel cheated but I admit I put a lot of hope in this simply because I truly enjoyed and loved the other series.
I also know each book should be praised or disliked on its own worth and not by comparing it to others, but in this case it was difficult not to.
I can't say I didn't have a slight inkling of doubt because I've read a book in another series, and that book wasn't the marvel I thought it would be, so this one was highly anticipated but not at 100% level, even more so because of the YA reference...
At this point, matching too many expectations, a missed hit with a similar book and not as great reviews out there, I got apprehensive but still wanted to see if all that was just noise. For me, it ended up being the disappointment I dreaded anyway.
My biggest problem is that I felt this book, or the actions the characters were taking and even everything surrounding their choices, conversations, etc, missed the amazingly perfect subtlety of emotion that the first series had and which I loved. I couldn't find much in this book that reminded me of how things used to be and how much I enjoyed reading about them. It's almost as if these characters, by being obviously different from the others, thus having different personalities, couldn't bother to care about things, as if their emotional answers didn't have to exist.
It just felt weird to read about characters that didn't bother to act in a way I thought it would suit them. I missed the emotional level I thought this would have.
The secondary characters - which I confess was part of why I wanted to read this - didn't strike me as engaging as that. I liked seeing some beloved characters and some interactions that surely will have repercussions and that will affect certain things and I'm very curious to read about that but to think I have to suffer through so many pointless passages to get to the good stuff...
Prudence and her circle of friends didn't leave a mark on me. I'm not very fond of them, they seemed very shallow and predictable and their actions revealed immaturity and a lack of concern for things...pretty much a sort of YA attitude I really can't stand for. Prudence is the key character, of course much of what happens goes through her but although I didn't despise her, I feel she isn't the type of person I want to read more about. I think this would be better if the focus was still on her parents.
I struggled a bit to finish the book. Many passages didn't have any appeal to me and the way things ended was almost exaggerated. This wouldn't be such a problem if more than half the book weren't silly and without real meaning, in my perspective. I totally respect the author's style, in fact it was that particular trademark that made me want to read her books, but in this book it's too much, things got a certain mocking tone that didn't have the emotional side to balance it like I thought it should.
All in all, I can't say I hated this but it certainly wasn't something I'll cherish. I might read the next book but it stopped being a priority and I'll certainly not spend too much on it and will wait for a cheaper paperback edition.
Grade: 5/10

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