With a deep sigh that only comes with finishing a good series, I swiped to the last page of Manners and Mutiny by Ms. Gail Carriger on Sunday. In reflection, of course there are many things I enjoyed about the books. If you’re not acquainted with her work, Ms. Carriger tells a story like no one else – such that her writing is half the fun. One of the first things that drew me to this series, was of course, the delightful Parasol Protectorate set (which remains my favorite). Naturally, I compared the two. And like my love of Tamora Pierce, I find that I much prefer the original series.
There is nothing wrong with Sophronia and her world, but in a critical look at the series (which I’m doing only because these books will be one of the closest set when my Queen trilogy is complete), I find a few things lacking. While perhaps my own concern (and no one else’s), I found the ‘big bad’ in each book and overall difficult to identify and therefore at the end of four books, not as much of a payoff as I would’ve liked. Again, my preference would be for a strong antagonist such that the resolve *feels* like a big ending (Cassandra Clare does this very well in her Infernal Devices series). Sophronia is wonderfully independent, but the love interest and entire romantic storyline also felt a bit forced. Like watching two actors on television who have no chemistry, that is how I felt with Soap and Sophronia (although MAJOR props to the author for creating a realistic and fitting end to this biracial couple).
However, there are a number of things Ms. Carriger does seamlessly – including her continuation of strong and developed supporting characters and fully realized world building.
Do I recommend the books? Of course!
Am I still insanely jealous of Ms. Carriger’s writing style? I am!