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Gail Carriger

Gail CarrigerGail Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies. Find out more at Gail Carriger’s website. Read Ruth’s interview with Gail Carriger.

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Ruth has tea with Gail Carriger

Fantasy evokes a lot of emotions from me.  Giggling usually isn't one of them.  But I giggled through much of Soulless, the first book in The Parasol Protectorate by the peerless Gail Carriger.  After being properly introduced, Ms. Carriger politely assented to being interviewed for the benefit of our dear readers.  The transcript of that conversation follows.  Ms. Carriger has also generously donated a signed copy of Soulless (reviewed by me) to be donated to a lucky reader, so leave a comment or question for her and you may be the lucky winner!

Ruth: Usually when talking about new authors, I can compare them to other authors that are well known. Your work can be described as “What would happen if P.G. Wode... Read More

Soulless: Neck-nibbling tongue-in-cheek paranormal romance

 Soulless by Gail Carriger

Imagine what would happen if P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen got together and wrote an urban fantasy novel. Gail Carriger did (that’s how she describes this novel) and the result is a delightfully amusing paranormal romance. Soulless is the story of Alexia Tarabotti, who has the social misfortune of being a spinster with a dead Italian father; not having a soul is just an additional burden to bear. Then she gets attacked by an ill-mannered vampire. That’s when Lord Maccon gets involved. He’s the Queen’s officer in charge of investigating the paranormal, and just happens to be a werewolf. And gorgeous.

I giggled through almost the entire book. From the first few pages, it is obvious that Soulless was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. While the story may not break new ground when it comes to Regency romance novels, the ... Read More

Changeless: Charming

Changeless by Gail Carriger

In this charming sequel to Soulless, Gail Carriger brings us back to the world of Alexia Tarabotti, who now happens to be Lady Maccon. When a mysterious occurrence in London leaves vampires without fangs and werewolves incapable of shifting forms, Alexia springs into action, determined to find the source of this dangerous power. Whether or not her husband approves, she gathers her allies, rides a dirigible, is the target of assassins, and has to confront the (possibly eternal) side effects of her soullessness.

Changeless is a much more tightly focused story than the first book in The Parasol Protectorate was. The supporting cast of characters has already been established, which means less time is spent creating the setting and more time is spent on the action — and this... Read More

Blameless: Witty, charming, exhilarating, fun

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Lord and Lady Maccon have been smitten with each other since they first met, regardless of the fact that he is a werewolf, and she is a preternatural — someone who can remove supernatural powers from anyone she touches. Everyone knows that werewolves and vampires can’t reproduce, so when Lady Maccon becomes pregnant, Lord Maccon does what any right thinking man would do in the situation — he accuses Alexandria of infidelity and kicks her out of his home.

Forced to take refuge with her stepfather, Lady Maccon finds that she has become the scandal of the season. To make matters worse, Lord Akeldama, a vampire and inveterate friend, disappears just when she needs a friend most. So Alexia decides to do what any rational female would do in the situation — she takes her butler and her friend and heads to the Continent to track down any possible explanation of how the “infant inconvenience” came to ... Read More

Heartless: Witty frivolity and endless imagination

Heartless by Gail Carriger

Alexia is now largely pregnant and ready (though not overly willing) to enter into her confinement when an insane ghost appears and warns of a plot to assassinate the queen. As if that isn’t enough, the vampires have been repeatedly attempting to kill Alexia, or at least the infant inconvenience she carries (mechanical porcupines — what will they think of next), necessitating that Alexia and Conall move to London and come under the protection of Lord Akeldama who is wittier than ever before as he deals with the loss of his favorite drone, Buffy. And then Alexia’s half-sister decides to move in. And take up the cause of suffrage! What will people say?

Heartless is a welcome addition to Gail Carriger’s steampunk London. The Woolsey werewolf pack is at its best trying to anticipate the demands of their pregnant alpha female, Conall is beside himself trying ... Read More

Timeless: A little goes a long way

Timeless by Gail Carriger

Timeless is the fifth and final book in Gail Carriger’s popular PARASOL PROTECTORATE series which takes place in a Victorian London where vampires and werewolves and other immortal paranormal creatures are integrated into society. Alexia Tarabotti, our spunky heroine, is a “preternatural” — she has the rare ability to cancel out the powers of other supernatural creatures when she touches them.

Over the course of the previous books, Alexia met, fell in love with, and married Lord Conal Maccon, an alpha werewolf. Their relationship is sometimes sexy and sometimes rocky. For example, he banished Alexia during her pregnancy because he thought he was sterile. Now the couple is back together and baby Prudence has entered their lives. Prudence is an enigma — she has some unique powers that nobody understands yet. Will she be some sort of abomination? Quite pos... Read More

Etiquette & Espionage: Charming YA steampunk adventure

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

When we meet 14-year-old Sophronia in the first scene of Etiquette & Espionage, she’s diving out of a runaway dumbwaiter after attempting to use it to spy on the mysterious woman sitting in her mother’s parlor. Despite Sophronia’s inglorious entry and introduction, the lady invites her to attend Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Sephronia does not want to be reformed, but she is sent nonetheless.

Fortunately for Sophronia (and unknown to her mother or to headmistress Mademoiselle Geraldine), this finishing school is highly unusual. Most noticeable is that it floats far above the ground in a fantastical dirigible. Second, it recruits students from the most evil families in the country (though Sophronia is a covert recruit). Most important is that while the ladies of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s are being properly and traditionally fi... Read More

Curtsies & Conspiracies: Wonderful, especially on audio

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Such games we play.... As if I didn’t have to hedge and speak in code most of the time, I must now do it as part of regular social interactions. No wonder Mademoiselle Geraldine’s has such success training the female aristocracy to be intelligencers. It’s most of our life already. ~Miss Sophronia Temminnick

The intrepid girls of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality have returned in another completely charming YA adventure! After having possibly saved the world quite recently, the girls are back in school learning how to dance, do household accounting, speak demurely, faint properly, flutter their eyelashes, and assassinate people at the dinner table. Sophronia, our protagonist, isn’t quite sure why she’s learning these things or who she’ll be working for — all she knows is that she’s having fun and she does not want to be sent home.
... Read More

Waistcoats & Weaponry: A fresh steampunk parody

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

“It’s most annoying of you to order me to do something I’m going to do anyway. Now it’ll look like I’m obeying you.” ~Miss Sophronia Temminnick

I absolutely adore Gail Carriger’s FINISHING SCHOOL series in which spunky Miss Sophronia Temminnick and her friends are being finished while they learn to finish others. For Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not your usual Victorian boarding school. Unbeknownst to its headmistress, those Young Ladies of Quality are being trained to be assassins who will one day serve and protect their queen (or at least Sophronia assumes this — she’s not actually sure yet).

In Waistcoats & Weaponry, the third installment, the young “ladies” are still in their second year of school. While the academy drifts through the ether in a ... Read More

Manners & Mutiny: An exciting “finish”

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Manners & Mutiny is the fourth and final installment in Gail Carriger’s FINISHING SCHOOL series for teens (though as you can see from my reviews, adults will enjoy this, too!). This has been one of my favorite fantasy series in the last few years, so I’m sad to see it end. Fortunately, Carriger’s most-loved characters tend to show up in her other series, which are all set in the same supernatural England.

Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Ladies of Quality is, literally, a finishing school. Its ladies are taught how to “finish” other people, presumably enemies of the queen. At this point, Sophronia, Dimity, Agatha and their friends are close to completing their studies. They have learned many important espionage and finishing skills s... Read More

Prudence: A new generation of zany adventures

Prudence by Gail Carriger

Prudence is the first book in Gail Carriger’s new CUSTARD PROTOCOL series. It’s a spin-off of THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE, her five-book series which is about genteel vampires and werewolves in Victorian London. You don’t need to read PARASOL PROTECTORATE before starting Prudence, but you’ll understand the characters and world a little better if you do.

Those who are familiar with PARASOL PROTECTORATE will know who Prudence is. She’s the daughter of Lady Alexia Tarabotti, a preternatural who is able to cancel out other people’s supernatural powers. She has two fathers — alpha werewolf Lord Conal Maccon (her biological father) and the flamboyant vampire Lord Akeldama (who adopted her to protect her from the vampires). Prudence has the extremely rare power of being able to not only cancel other people... Read More

Imprudence: Very similar to Prudence

Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Imprudence is the second book in Gail Carriger’s CUSTARD PROTOCOL series, a spin-off of her popular PARASOL PROTECTORATE books and related to her wonderful young adult FINISHING SCHOOL series. I didn’t love the first CUSTARD PROTOCOL book, Prudence. I thought the plot was silly, the humor was too often forced, and the romance was dull. However, I loved the audiobook narration by the amazingly talented Moira Quirk, so I was happy to give the sequel, Imprudence, a try.

In this instalment, Prudence (Pru) and the crew of her dirigible, The Spotted Custard, are back home in England, but not for long. Th... Read More

Competence: Silly situations and frivolous fashions

Competence by Gail Carriger

I keep picking up Gail Carriger’s books because I really loved her FINISHING SCHOOL series, so I know it’s possible for me to connect with her work, but Competence (2018) is the third CUSTARD PROTOCOL book I’ve tried (after giving up on THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE from which this series spun off) and I’m realizing that it’s just not working for me. So, take my review with the proverbial grain of salt. If you’re a fan of THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE and THE CUSTARD PROTOCOL, just ignore my opinion and go purchase and read Competence. You’ll almost certainly love it.

In this installment, Primrose and the werecat get stranded on land for a bit while the rest of the crew of The Spotted Cust... Read More

Reticence: Percy finally falls in love

Reticence by Gail Carriger

I adore Gail Carriger’s FINISHING SCHOOL series, but I’m not a big fan of her related series (THE PARASOL PROTECTORATE and THE CUSTARD PROTOCOL). They’re just too silly for me, with their focus on fashion and frivolity. I can see why others like them, though. They are unique, creative, and well written with some great characters. They’re just not my thing.

However, I did want to read the final CUSTARD PROTOCOL book, Reticence, because it stars Percy, one of my favorite Carriger characters. Percy is the bookish navigator of the airship The Spotted Custard, which is captained by Prudence, whose sexual awakening we witnessed i... Read More