Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Crudrat by Gail Carriger


Like everyone in The Wheel, Maura knows her place. She’s not a citizen, and there’s only one thing she can do: clean the scythers. It’s dangerous job that requires peak physical agility and acrobatics. Those that do the job are called Crudrats. And of all the Crudrats, Maura is the best. But now, she’s gotten too tall, and suddenly, there’s no place for her at all. Crudrats who grow too much usually die within a year of having their license pulled. It looks like her fate will be the same.

Until she meets an alien she calls “Fuzzy”, for the mass of fur covering his body. In helping Fuzzy escape from The Wheel and those who would torture him, Maura earns a one-way ticket away from The Wheel. But what’s out there in the stars waiting for her? It can’t be much worse than the fate waiting for her in The Wheel… right?

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

The Progenitors of The Wheel live high up above the sky, amongst the stars, removed from the petty concerns of mere mortals. Each one designed, engineered, perfect; their imperfect children get left to die.

Ghosts. Cyphers. They do not exist. A lucky few, the Crudrats, scrape out a perilous living cleaning the toxic wastes from the great machines that power the station.

Meet Maura. Cypher. Crudrat. Grown too tall, alone in a spaceport with no use for her, doomed to starve. With only her crud-eating murmel and an alien monster to help her, she must find a way to survive, or escape, before they catch her and blow what’s left of her life, and her companions, into space.


This is very much a novel built on a society of "a place for everything, and everything in its place". Stay in line, do as you're told. There's no changing your lot in life. Everything is ordered, and that's the way it is. It's meant to be that way. The upper class remains up, the downfallen stay down. You know what? I'm just going to leave it at that, and you can draw your own parallels as you like. I'm actually going to keep my thoughts largely to myself on this one.


There is a lot to love about Crudrat. I think the largest draw in style for me was the language used. This is a very foreign world, a future that has been pulled so far from our society and lifestyle now that there's almost no common ground to start on... except for the fact that Maura is a human. A Tinkered human, yes, but she's still human. That's about where the similarities end. It's a jar, some culture shock, but it's so easy to fall into the world with Maura because it is all she knows. That is not glossed over at all. Maura feels no wonderment at the world she lives in. It is her world, completely. She speaks in slang, the speech patterns of her and the other Crudrats not quite syncing up with how I would speak/think, but that doesn't make it difficult to understand. It's actually a great tool to really immerse the reader (or in my case, listener) into the culture and world. I loved the creativity in how the characters spoke to one another. At the same time as it pulled me into their world, it drew me right out of my own. Carriger did an amazing job at that.

My Thoughts

Crudrat was immensely enjoyable to listen to. I'll admit, there were a few times where I was left confused about spacial relations, what was going on with all the running and flipping about Maura does in her crudratting. There's a lot of action in the book, a lot of great dialogue and character interaction, and the characters are very true to themselves and their cultures. Maura is a very believable result of her upbringing, and her thought processes remain true to her nature while still allowing her room for growth. Fuzzy is... well fuzzy. He's a great character and counterpoint to Maura, and I just plain fell in love with the murmel. I want one. Specifically, I want Biscuit, Maura's murmel.

I'll admit that there was one promise made in the first third of the book I was afraid would't be resolved by the end of the novel, but Carriger delivered... almost at the last minute. I'm not entirely sure if I feel gratified that the promise was kept, or upset that it was kept so late and not in a manner I was really expecting. it paves a way for a sequel, definitely, but it almost felt like an afterthought, trying to tie up a loose end.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yeah, give it a go! You can get it in a great MP3 version with awesome production by Artistic Whispers Productions. It's a fullcast role with a few actors showing up in multiple cameo roles, but the main characters are all done by individual actors who all give great performances. The listening is a great experience that does the story justice. I give Crudrat a crud-dusted 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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