By Gail Carriger
“If that Alpha wanted to dash off into the jungle with a mysterious goddess on her back on a whimsical evening run in the middle of a prospective battle, they would go with her.”Another great lark from the amazing Gail Carriger! Fast forward from the Parasol Protectorate series about 20 years, and join the offspring of several of its main characters in this new series. Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama is the daughter of a werewolf and a preternatural (a "soulless" able to cancel-out the super in the supernaturals), making her the first metanatural (being able to "steal" the super from the supernaturals) in hundreds of years. She was also adopted and raised by a fashion-forward vampire and his pretty-boy drones. This combination of parentage has lead young Rue (she hates her name), to be rather daring and fearless, particularly in terms of undergarments, much to the dismay of her family.
― Gail Carriger, Prudence
Lord Akeldama, Rue's adopted father, sends her to India on a mission: someone has stolen the tea he was intending for an importing venture. Armed with a dirigible decorated like a ladybug, the twin offspring of the London vampire queen, the son of a brilliant inventor, and relatives stationed at her destination, and Rue dives full steam ahead into adventure.
The first book in the Custard Protocol series is light and frothy and full of fun. There is certainly a mystery and the occasional daring-do, but the story never loses its sense of humor. Old characters grace the pages occasionally, and I was delighted to see them again. And the new characters were equally lovely. Miss Sekmet became an instant favorite. In addition, Carriger expanded her world building, introducing not only new characters, but new creatures as well. That was unexpected, but completely delightful! I can't wait to see what else she has in store for her readers in future books.
This book can certainly stand on its own, but I'd recommend starting with the Parasol Protectorate series and possibly even the Finishing School series first, if you're new to the author. Her characters float between the series, and I find certain scenes more meaningful when I know the backstory. Either way, I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a clever romp with a healthy dollop of silliness.