I’ve been a fan of steampunk since I knew what it was, but more recently I’ve come to realize that one of my favorite genres of fiction is fantasy of manners, which is a genre many a series I love fall into. Basically, fantasy of manners is a mashup of historical fiction (often Victorian and Edwardian, among others) and fantasy/magic/supernatural. By themselves, neither genre does much for me. I do like subsections of fantasy/etc (urban fantasy, for example and some straight up fantasy in YA), but usually not and especially not epic adult fantasy/etc. And I’m not a fan of historical fiction in general, either. But when you combine them? I love it!
Prudence is part of the same world that Carriger created with her enjoyable and fun Soulless series. Prudence (Rue) is the daughter of the main character from that series (Alexa). She inherited a version of her mother’s ability (when Alexa touches a supernatural being, they become mortal for the whole time they’re touching), in Rue’s case, she literally takes on their supernatural form until enough distance is put between the supernatural being and herself.
Rue, her best friend Prim (daughter of Alexa’s BFF, Ivy), Percy (Prim’s brother) and Quesnel (he’s the adopted son of Madame Lefoux, a friend/acquaintance of Alexa) embark on an adventure, which make sup most of the novel. Rue’s adopted father (a vampire, her biological father, and Alexa’s husband, is a werewolf — it is all rather complicated, but very enjoyable) sends her to England to secure some tea (they are British after all) and Rue finds herself in the midst of politics and the supernatural, because of course she does.
What transpires aboard Rue’s ship (the Spotted Custard, where the name of the series gets it’s name) is an entertaining romp and return to the world of Soulless. This series acts as a follow up, or sequel series (I guess?) to Soulless but it’s not the only return to this world we’re given. While Prudence and Soulless are very much adult novels (as are the rest of their series), Carriger has given us a truly enjoyable YA series, which takes place as a prequel to Soulless. Her Finishing School series is equally as enjoyable, if not even more so as it follows the story of several girls (a quite a few people we’re familiar with from the Soulless books) throughout their adventures in finishing school and learning the ways of spying, fighting and generally growing up in polite society.
While you can pick up Finishing School without having read Soulless and Prudence would most likely be enjoyable if you’re not familiar with the previous books, I don’t know why you would. These series are all a treat to read and quite a lot of fun — which, to be quite honest, is one of the reasons I love them. So, if you want a bit of fun in your fiction reading, why not check out one of Carriger’s fantastic series! You certainly won’t be disappointed.