lady maccon

A series that I'm surprised that Tumblr doesn't talk more about

The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger

consists of 5 books (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless) and features a good amount of MOGII characters, and a large variety of female characters. It is lacking in PoC characters and characters that are explicitly not part of the gender binary or trans, though, I’ll not deny that.

but really can we talk about the ladies!

first the main character Alexia Tarabotti: spinster long on the shelf, soulless, and *gasp shock horror* Half-Italian. The way that she is described is having black curly hair and “swarthy” skin (despite how the comic adaptation has her pale as any of the other characters). While Carriger specifically describes Alexia as having a “Mediterranean” skin color, the amount of emphasis that is placed on how different Alexia looks from her half-siblings and other ladies of society makes me think that Alessandro Tarabotti (Alexia’s presumed dead father) himself had Moorish ancestry that got passed on to Alexia along with the soulless state. Heterosexual (mostly, considering her reactions to one of the ladies she later meets)

Ivy Hisselpenny: Alexia’s best friend who has a rather poor, to say the least, taste in hats. But under the over affectation of being the absolute silliest person in the room, Ivy does have some smarts, she just does not express it as one would find conventional. Heterosexual.

Angelique: a former drone (human servant of a vampire/vampire hive who is bidding for immortality and/or patronage) of the Westminster vampire hive who becomes Alexia’s ladies maid. French, and revealed to be lesbian or possibly bisexual. 

Genevieve Lefoux: French inventor and milliner who as a preference for wearing her hair short and dressing in mens clothing tailored to herself. Very obviously a lesbian. 

Sidheag Maccon: a great battle axe of a lady in her late 30’s who, if possible, is blunter than Alexia. the most muscular woman in the entire series (almost has to be considering her self imposed job). 

for the male and homosexual characters, one need not look further than the fashionable Lord Akeldama, one of the oldest Rove vampires in London, who decorates his house in the hight of Rococo style and speaks with italics.  He also has a bevvy of drones who are all implied to also be homosexual. including…

Biffy: Lor Akeldama’s “head drone” you could say, who’s sexuality is a bit more explicit than implied and who is also very exactingly competent. 

On the werewolf side, there is Professor Randolf Lyall, the reserved and intellectual beta wolf of the Woolsey pack. He’s heavily implied to have an attraction to men, and implication which is later confirmed as you read the rest of the series. 

Sidheag certainly looked in need of that supporting arm. For the first time, Sophronia thought of her friend as willowy and frail, rather than tall and gawky.
“My dear, what has happened?” Dimity demanded, bracing herself as if against a physical blow, her tiny fists clenched.
“Who needs to be killed?” Sophronia asked, trying to lighten the mood but also feeling quite murderous at the very idea that anyone might cause her unflappable friend such pain.
—  Waistcoats & Weaponry
Prudence by Gail Carriger

Cover from Amazon.com

Title: Prudence

Series: Book 1 of The Custard Protocol

Author: Gail Carriger 

Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Release date: 17 March 2015

Plot: Lady Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama may be considered at her height in society but in truth she’s feeling a bit bored with London. So when her dear adopted father Dama gifts her a dirigible of her very own and asks her to go to India for him on a special tea mission, she jumps at the chance to float away. On the way and once there, however, Rue finds that she may be in a bit of hot water. Between local dissidents, a kidnapped wife, and more than one aggravating male on her ship, Rue will have to rely on her wits, breeding, and her metanatural abilities, to uncover just what is going on.

Review: Leave it to Gail Carriger to make me fall in love with a new series before it was even published and then live up to that once I had a copy.

Rue is an absolute delight, spoiled to be certain, yet with a firm will and a desire to do what is right (she would not appreciate the observation that she reminds me of her mother). While a majority of her friends and family may be people that we have met before, the joy in seeing them again doesn’t distract from following Rue’s story. The story itself moves at a good clip and at the end I was left with many, many questions and a definite for the next book immediately, a good trait in the first book of a new series. The descriptions that Carriger has delivered so well in her last eight books continue with this book, wonderfully crafted imagery of India, Malta, and even a London twenty years after we left it.

Literally my only complaint has to do with the fact that I am a selfish reader: I want to know more about the characters I’ve left behind. Prudence is taking place somewhere between 20 and 40 years after as yet incomplete Finishing School series that I am so attached to, at least that’s my rough estimate based on various characters ages (mostly Lefoux as she’s the only constant). It’s actually quite fascinating when you think about it, Carriger is giving us a look at almost three generations of a single large and expanded family. And I’m dying to know about how the rest of them are doing, a difficult order considering Finishing School isn’t finished (that was an unintentional pun that is making me giggle madly).

I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with myself between now and when the next book is released. I’m not even sure what I will do with myself between now and when THIS book is released. Maybe I’ll give my car a paint job. Apparently a vehicle with a ladybug design is just the thing for a young lady of adventurous spirit.