I have a small confession to make: I bought this book right away when it came out, and then I couldn’t bear to open it because I knew it would be at least 2 years before the next one. Well, said next one has been announced, so I felt a little more secure opening Imprudence. I have really liked everything Gail Carriger has written thus far that I have read, but this was a bit of a let-down. I feel like I may have let my anticipation set me up for that, but still, it wasn’t quite the awesomeness I was hoping for. 3.5 stars.
The usual Carriger sparkle in language and fun just isn’t here as much as her other books. That and I feel no sympathy or attachment to Rue. When the main character is annoying and rather flat, it’s just not up to the usual standard. There’s one brief moment about Quesnel where she explains why she acts the ways she does, but by that point I’ve been so annoyed by her that I don’t really feel any sympathy. It’s almost worse, that she knows what she’s like and how it might affect the people around her, but she doesn’t seem to feel any problems with it. Rue is still something of a know it all who clearly knows not, and her attitude bugs me.
It’s not all bad news though. I really like the reappearance of Alexia and Conall, as well as Biffy and Lord Akeldama. We actually learn a little more about Lord Akeldama’s background, although some hints previously placed were not exactly subtle, and we see Uncle Rabiffano finally take charge of the werewolf pack. The dynamic set up between Prim and Tasherit is also promising, and I hope the following volume looks into that some more. It’s great that some of the Carriger magic is still here, but it’s only in the side characters.
The end this novel also introduces a new character that has huge potential to set off all kinds of possibilities concerning Rue’s family, but we see so little of this cousin that it’s hard to be sure; that and Rue’s reaction is to hold him prisoner for torture (not exactly endearing of her, even if he and some colleagues did attack the Spotted Custard). Maybe it’s just mid-series blues, but I’m starting to get a little worried for the future of the Parasol-verse. In a perfect world, the next volume will put Rue in the background and focus on everyone else.