Review: Reticence (Custard Protocol #4) by Gail Carriger

Reticence is the final book in the Custard Protocol series, and (as far as I’m concerned) confirms the theory that the San Andreas Shifters novels written under the name GL Carriger (because of the genre shift) carries on in the same world, with at least one of the same characters. This gives me hope that perhaps future characters will appear in that world, because I am definitely not ready to be done with the Parasolverse and all its beloved characters yet.

As I’ve said before, I don’t imagine many people pick up a series on the final book, and I doubt there’ll be many people reading this review who haven’t already decided whether or not they’ll be seeking out a copy of this book; so I shall attempt to keep this review short.


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Good cover, though I admit to not picturing Percy as being quite so rugged

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion to NYT bestselling author Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series.

Percival Tunstell loves that his sister and her best friend are building themselves a family of misfits aboard their airship, the Spotted Custard. Of course, he’d never admit that he belongs among them. He’s 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 novel focuses on Percy, the last member of the Custard’s crew to be paired off. I admit I was a little disappointed that everyone had to end up in a relationship so the reader could be sure they had a happy ending. I wish there were more books that ended with characters being content in their life position without needing a romantic partner; but Arsenic was a great match for Percy and it never felt like a bad fit for the characters or the world, so feel free to ignore my complaining. It’s also worth noting that I was glad for the insight Arsenic provided into the life of a character from the Finishing School series, I should probably read Poison or Protect for more, but amazing as Gail Carriger’s work is, I’ve read a lot of it lately and I’m eager to switch things up, so that will probably have to wait.

Back to the actual thing you’re here for—the review. This novel takes place primarily on the Custard (as always), but this time the crew travels to Japan. Once again, the scene is beautifully set, with cultural differences being extrapolated to develop different kinds of supernatural creatures, and the societal and technological impact this might have on society. There’s plenty of witty banter, respectful and entertaining relationships, and absurd escapes from certain death or imprisonment.

This book was great fun, wrapping up storylines in a natural manner, and bringing back beloved characters from other books for cameos. There was a hint of Sidheag perhaps finding love in a short story to come, and I hope I wasn’t just imagining things, because the poor woman deserves some good in her life. It would also be an opportunity for her replacement beta and his wife to come back into the scene, which any long-term fans of Ms Carriger’s will doubtless be very excited for (myself included). Apologies for the vague language, I’m trying to squeal about the parts of this book that excited me without actually spoiling anything.

Reticence was a good book, a solid ending, and a worthy place to leave the world of The Custard Protocol. Fans of steampunk, fantasy, romance or witty characters will likely enjoy vacationing in Ms Carriger’s worlds. If you begin reading with Reticence you will miss a lot, but if you’re more interested in specific characters than overall character development and world building almost any of Gail Carriger’s books could provide an entrée into the world, in which case by all means read Reticence if this review intrigues you.

 

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