Sunday, 25 August 2019

Reticence by Gail Carriger

Reticence by Gail Carriger is the fourth and final book in the Custard Protocol series. I believe it is also the last book (or novel, more accurately) in the entire parasol universe. (A novella or two might still be forthcoming.) It ties up all the loose ends of the Custard Protocol books and also some unexpected loose ends from the Finishing School books.

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion the Custard Protocol series.

Percival Tunstell loves that his sister and friends are building themselves a family of misfits aboard their airship, the Spotted Custard. Of course, he'd never admit that he belongs among them.

Percy has always been on the outside - dispassionate, aloof, and hatless.

But accidental spies, a trip to Japan, and one smart and beautiful doctor may have him renegotiating his whole philosophy on life. Except hats.

He's done with hats. Thank you very much.

This was, as per usual for Carriger’s books, a fun read. It’s structured in the romance style of having alternating points of view from the two leads who are obviously going to end up together. Any tension that exists is more from “when” and “how” rather than “if”. So we have half-ish of the story from Percy’s point of view — a well-known character from the series, though I think this is the first time we see inside his head — and half-ish of the story from the point of view of Arsenic, a new character. The book is generally cute and charming with both characters having entertaining quirks which mesh well together.

The slightly odd thing about this book is that a lot of major events happen to other characters (like Rue, who was the protagonist of the first two Custard Protocol books) and are somewhat backgrounded by the Percy- and Arsenic-centred narration. I suppose it works as an epilogue for those characters and it makes sense when considering that those events are not the main plot of this book. But it was sort of odd? And as a consequence the destination that the main plot takes place in — Japan, as noted in the blurb and as can be guessed from the cover — isn't reached until about halfway through the book. The story that takes place there was adequately entertaining, but sort of brief. There wasn't as much space for interacting with a variety of locals as there was in the earlier books (or am I thinking about the Soulless books, rather than the Custard books?)

Anyway, that aside I enjoyed Reticence and I definitely recommend it to fans of Gail Carriger. It probably stands alone a bit more than the earlier books in the series (although definitely contains spoilers for the earlier books). I recommend reading them in order, but I don't think it's absolutely essential in this case, especially if you are generally already familiar with the world. I am a bit sad that there aren't any more books to look forward to, but I see how this series has run its course. I would not be averse to reading more books set in the same universe, but aside from a novella or two I am not expecting any more.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: August 2019, Self-published (outside of North America)
Series: Custard Protocol book 4 of 4
Format read: ePub
Source: Bought from Kobo store

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