New Columns

The Steampunk Chronicle is opening up a new section of the paper, Columns. Like traditional papers, writers will have the opportunity to write articles on a regular bases on a given topic or interest area of Steampunk.  If you have a deep interest in a particular area or write a regular blog then perhaps becoming a Column writer is right for you. 

Contact us regarding becoming a Column writer at

Steampunk Columns

Another Helping of Custard
Created by ggrihn on 10/31/2018 2:21:17 PM

Competence: The Custard Protocol, Book 3, by Gail Carriger

Reviewed by Gregory G. H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor

Competence The third book of Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series is long on relationships, and rather short on adventure. The major story arc of the novel concerns the attraction/tension between Primrose Tunstell, the Spotted Custard’s Purser and Rue’s best friend, and Tasherit, who has elected to stay as part of the airship’s company after the existence of her kind was “outed” last book. There are also incremental developments in the Rue/Quensel/Rodrigo triangle, and we get more character development on the part of the apparently asexual Percy. In addition, there is some exposition regarding the history of shapeshifters, and about the history of the mysterious Floote.

For readers who have come to care for the various endearing characters, Carriger’s world, and her humorous style, that should be sufficient. If you require adventure with your custard, you may be a bit disappointed.

The action portion of the plot is rather thin. The Spotted Custard crew undertake to “float” to South America in order to rescue a rare group of supernaturals in danger of extinction. This requires them to attempt crossing the Pacific Ocean, which poses chiefly technical challenges of fuel and flight, overcome by the brilliant Percy. Percy scores again when they are endangered by unknown aetherospheric phenomena. The eventual meeting with the new supernaturals is funny, but anticlimactic.

There are still interesting loose ends to follow up: how will Rue’s relationships shake down; will Percy continue evolving from a thinking machine into a human being; will the Spotted Custard succeed in circumnavigating the globe? Stay tuned for the next book in the series, Reticence, to be out in 2019.

Recommended for fans of Carriger: if you prefer “blood and thunder” Steampunk, perhaps not so much.

New Comment ...
Sort by:

Recent Column Articles

Airship Aerie: Introducing Airship IsabellaAirship Aerie: Introducing Airship Isabella
by Strangeway in 11/29/2011

Chronicle Correspondent and Penny Dreadful Production's John Strangeway begins the Chronicle's n... Read More..

Airship Tales: Introducing Airship ArchonAirship Tales: Introducing Airship Archon
by Strangeway in 01/31/2012

John Strangeway returns for his next installment of Airship Tales, this time profiling the Airsh... Read More..

The Paradox of Steampunk ConventionsThe Paradox of Steampunk Conventions
by omgrey in 02/07/2012

Notable Steampunk Paranormal Romance Author O.M. Grey gives us our first in a regular series of ... Read More..

Backing Steam: A Steampunk Tempest and Dreams in RealityBacking Steam: A Steampunk Tempest and Dreams in Reality
by ApprenticeLiesel in 02/14/2012

Liesel Hindmann starts the Chronicle's Brand New Feature: Backing Steam, our monthly fundraising... Read More..

Backing Steam: The Chronicles of Professor ElementalBacking Steam: The Chronicles of Professor Elemental
by ApprenticeLiesel in 03/13/2012

Next in our Backing Steam series, Liesel Hindmann has a quick interview with none other than Pro... Read More..

From the Bookshelf Of...From the Bookshelf Of...
by AustinSirkin in 03/27/2012

In our new feature, "From the Bookshelf Of...", Steampunk Chronicle editors and writers review b... Read More..

Behind the Convention CurtainBehind the Convention Curtain
by anastasia in 04/10/2012

New correspondent Anastasia Hunter responds to a previous column with a peek behind what goes in... Read More..

Backing Steam: The Independence of Sunday Driver, and Other Great ThingsBacking Steam: The Independence of Sunday Driver, and Other Great Things
by ApprenticeLiesel in 04/10/2012

Liesel Hindmann returns with a GIANT SIZED edition of Backing Steam, complete with interview fro... Read More..

In Response to Behind the Convention CurtainIn Response to "Behind the Convention Curtain"
by Bobbins in 04/17/2012

The Good Lord Bobbins of TeslaCon offers a response to our previous Opinion piece in discussing ... Read More..

Airship Tales: Now Boarding the Airship RevengerAirship Tales: Now Boarding the Airship Revenger
by Strangeway in 04/24/2012

Airship Tales columnist John Strangeway regails us once more with another profile, this time fro... Read More..