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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.


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Grenier’s Debut Novel a Proper Addition to Young Adult LiteratureGrenier’s Debut Novel a Proper Addition to Young Adult Literature
by GreenEggsNSamm in 06/07/2011
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Bethany Grenier’s debut novel Sings with Stars attempts to translate the author’s childhood ex... Read More..


The Steampunk Bible ReviewedThe Steampunk Bible Reviewed
by AustinSirkin in 06/07/2011
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 Writer and scholar Austin Sirkin reviews the new Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandermeer and SJ Chamber... Read More..


A Kindle Book Review of The Steam and Steel Chronicles, Book 1A Kindle Book Review of The Steam and Steel Chronicles, Book 1
by EBush in 05/17/2011
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 Author Emilie P. Bush reviews another indy author in Book 1 of the Steam and Steel Chronicles... Read More..


The Gospel According Emilie P. Bush, An Interview with the Author of The Gospel According to VerduThe Gospel According Emilie P. Bush, An Interview with the Author of The Gospel According to Verdu
by ProfHoppingood in 05/17/2011
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Patricia Nolde interviews author Emilie P. Bush about her upcoming sequel to Chenda and the Airshi... Read More..


Avalon and me, out for tea! (two drops if you please)Avalon and me, out for tea! (two drops if you please)
by Talloolah in 04/13/2011
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 Burlesque star and steampunk enthusiast Talloolah Love reviews O.M. Grey's steamy novel, Avalon Re... Read More..


Review of Kimberly Richardsons Dreams of SteamReview of Kimberly Richardson's Dreams of Steam
by professor in 03/15/2011
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The Professor takes on a review of Steampunk anthology "Dreams of Steam" edited by Kimberly Richard... Read More..


The Maiden Flight of the Gearheart Prequel SoundtrackThe Maiden Flight of the Gearheart Prequel Soundtrack
by ProfDvS in 12/07/2010
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 Professor Dimitri von Stadberg reviews the soundtrack to the podcast novella  Maiden Flight of the... Read More..


Dapper Men and a Five Year OldDapper Men and a Five Year Old
by EBush in 11/12/2010
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A review of Jim McCann & Janet Lee's new Steampunk Children's Book, "The Return of the Dapper Men" ... Read More..


Review of The Labyrinth of the DeadReview of The Labyrinth of the Dead
by Queenie in 08/20/2010
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Interview with Sara M. Harvey, author of The Labyrinth of the DeadInterview with Sara M. Harvey, author of The Labyrinth of the Dead
by Queenie in 08/20/2010
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Steampunk Chronicle’s Queenie T. Van Fisticuffs interviews Sara M. Harvey, author of The Labyrinth... Read More..


Review of M.K. Hobson’s The Native StarReview of M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star
by EBush in 08/13/2010
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 An Alternate History with deep fantasy roots: a review of M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star. Read More..