I can firmly blame my friend Kirsty for getting me into Gail Carriger’s books. It started with Soulless from the Parasol Protectorate series and pretty much exploded out from there as I motored through all her other books as fast as I could get my greedy mitts on them.
Why do I love her books? To put it simply: werewolves and vampires in high society, with a hefty slice of humour, intrigue and treacle tart.
All the books are such fun reads. Genuinely fun reads. Sure, there’s the odd dip here and there, but on the whole, they’re just so much fun.
And yes, I realise that I’ve now said the word fun three times.
How many books are there?
At present, there’s three series that take place within the same universe. If you read by the release dates it’s the Parasol Protectorate series first, then the Finishing School and now the Custard Protocol series.
Chronologically it goes:
1) The Finishing School series (four books)
2) The Parasol Protectorate series (five books, plus a short story)
3) The Custard Protocol series (one book – so far!)
Who are they for?
Technically speaking, the Finishing School series is for young adults and the other series are for adults, and you can definitely enjoy one series without reading the other. But! It does add a certain something to the reading experience to get all these little snippets of backstory and character building if you read them all.
As a fan, I say READ THEM ALL!! Perhaps with a slice of treacle tart and a cup of tea on hand.
So what’s this world like?
Set primarily in Victorian London, it’s a steampunky universe where vampires and werewolves are part of high society alongside the human population. There are ghosts too – some useful, some… less so. There’s a multitude of plots afoot at any moment in the series that come from all angles – not just the supernatural ones.
Start your education – Finishing School series
Aimed at the young adult audience, the Finishing School series follows the adventures of Sophronia after she’s admitted to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. From the outside it’s a school aiming to train young ladies in the finer points of high society. In reality it’s a school for spies, where they’re taught things like the best way to gain covert information, how to flutter their eyelashes to disarm a man and the different types of poison. Among other things.
This is where it all began (at least for me). Vampires and werewolves were once humans with an excess of soul – Alexia Tarabotti has no soul. She’s a preternatural and bain of the supernatural world as she is able to turn vampires and werewolves back to their mortal selves. Well, as long as she has skin on skin contact with them that is. Set twenty years after the Finishing School series, it’s A funny, entertaining romp of series, with romance and plenty of treacle tart.
There’s only been one book in this series so far (roll on the release of Impudence in July!), but it follows the adventures of Rue, who on being given a dirigible ‘does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. [from the blurb]’ Again, there’s been another time jump – this one is set eighteen years on from the last book in the Parasol Protectorate (Timeless), but it’s shaping up to be just as much fun as its predecessors.
So how about you? Have you tried any of Gail Carriger’s books? If so, do you agree with me or think I’m mad? Let me know!