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From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life's most challenging questions:
Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?
Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?
And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?

309 pages, Hardcover

First published July 17, 2018

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About the author

Gail Carriger

57 books14.9k followers
Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. Join the Chirrup for sneak peaks of upcoming giggles: http://gailcarriger.com/chirrup

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5 stars
2,142 (35%)
4 stars
2,482 (41%)
3 stars
1,167 (19%)
2 stars
186 (3%)
1 star
40 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 685 reviews
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,491 reviews469 followers
August 6, 2018
Gail Carriger is my go-to author for steampunk reads. Her Parasol Protectorate series was insanely addictive, a total joy to read. Her Finishing School series was also a wonderful read, and whilst it wasn’t to the same level as the Parasol Protectorate series it was really enjoyable. In truth, The Custard Protocol series is my least favourite series from the author. For me, The Custard Protocol is lacking in the punch that made me enjoy the prior series so much. It’s enjoyable and has the usual Gail Carriger elements, but it is not what I’d hoped it would be.

Despite how The Custard Protocol series is my least favourite, both Prudence and Imprudence were enjoyable enough for me to round my three-point-five-star ratings up to four-star ratings. With all that was opened up in the first two books in The Custard Protocol, I’d been hoping book three would be a solid four-star rating. Sadly, for me, Competence is my least favourite Gail Carriger read.

Although fun, Competence has a very different feel to it than the other Gail Carriger books I have read. Usually, Gail Carriger offers up a variety of things in her stories – mystery, action, romance, drama, humour, and plenty of supernatural goodies – yet it felt as though Competence removed some of these elements to focus on just one.

You see, Competence was a great read exploring sexuality and identity in the steampunk world. I cannot fault Gail Carriger for diversity and exploring aspects that are often overlooked in these kinds of books. However, I feel as though the focus on this meant other aspects of the story were not as well done as they usually are. In particular, I feel as though the adventure and supernatural worldbuilding was rather lacking. These things were there, but they were minimal, preventing me from loving the story in the way I had hoped to.

As I said, Gail Carriger brought in the diversity and explored it really well, I cannot fault her for this. I simply feel as though the rest of the story was lacking the usual elements that leave me loving Gail Carriger’s books. Hence, Competence was not what I had hoped it would be and disappointed me to some degree.

I’m curious to see what the fourth book in The Custard Protocol series brings, but I’m not as excited about the continuation of this series as I was about the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 82 books16.9k followers
October 23, 2018
I had a looooong drive to upstate NY and was able to finish listening to this one! I love listening to Gail Carriger books because the narrator, Moira Quirk does a fantastic job. This book is from the POV of Primrose and her twin brother Percy and it was a delight. So fun to get to know other characters in this richly imaginative world!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,226 reviews2,057 followers
June 9, 2020
Delightful! I loved the way the author swung away from Rue and used Percy and Primrose to tell the story. We learned so much about them as characters and also viewed Rue from a different perspective. And they were all gorgeous.

There was a lot of character development. Primrose discovered her true nature and many other things as well. Percy managed to be praised by Rue - at last! There was a wedding and there are plans for another. The Decklings were everywhere - you have to love Spoo.

Another great read from Ms Carriger and I am so looking forward to the next one where I believe the Spotted Custard is heading back to England where the aforementioned very important wedding is going to take place.
Profile Image for Kate.
299 reviews2 followers
July 22, 2018
*Audio Version*
As always, wonderfully ready by Moira Quirk but this time it just wasn't enough. I was bored. I feel like the author had a lot to say about love and relationships and social pressures, but also had a lot of adventure to write. Unfortunately, there was about 70% love and relationships (and endless conversations about them), 20% etiquette/ fashion and 10% story. There were so many interesting things presented and then dropped. Or presented and then wrapped up off stage. While I love all the characters, it is likely because I fell in love in either the preceding series or in the first book in this series. If I had come in here, I'd have had no idea what type of person anyone was, why they were floating, or why they spent so much time yelling their intentions to each other when bag guys are within hearing range.
If your preference is for romance over story, then you may well still enjoy this installment. I give much support to the author for presenting a varied mix of loves, preferences and feelings, but I came here for the adventure and was left wanting.
Profile Image for Gianna.
72 reviews3 followers
July 26, 2018
I think I'm falling a bit out of love with this writer. I still love the world she created for these books, but I don't like the characters as much as with her other series, so it all becomes a bit... silly. If not frustrating. The plot of the book is almost forgotten, so the drive of the book is the romance and the two pov's, which I both didn't enjoy, an issue that this entire series has had for me. Such a shame, since I loved the first two series so much.
Profile Image for Sanaa.
412 reviews2,554 followers
January 13, 2022
[4.5] My favorite of the series so far which makes me think I need to give Prudence a re-read since I technically rated that one higher? In general, I like this series less than the standard Parasol Protectorate, but Prim and Percy were so fun to have as narrators for this one.
Profile Image for Melissa.
203 reviews33 followers
August 18, 2019
Competence, book the third in the Custard Protocol, very much lives up to the adventurous frivolity of the series. I enjoyed watching Primrose evolve and come in to her own. I can’t wait to see how the Spotted Custard crew handles the new challenge aboard the decks. I loved meeting the new creatures in the world and finally getting a plausible cause for California’s inane beauty standards. Brava, Miss Carriger, you’ve done it again!
Profile Image for Amber J.
898 reviews59 followers
March 28, 2020
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.

After getting more use to the characters and their world, I'm really starting to love this series. I love that this book was from Prim and Percy's point of view. It really helped me to understand Percy more and love him all the more for it. I really hope that there is more from his point in the last book.

I do gotta say though that the 'discovery' made in this book sounds familiar. Like a Supernatural episode. If you've enjoyed that series as I have I'm sure you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't know if on purpose or not, but I do know that both the discovery, lore, and solution are all very similar to the Supernatural episode.

After that ending, I'm sure that the next book is going to be crazy and I can't wait to see how the author ends the series. So far there is a bit of a wait for my audio copy but I'm sure it will be worth it.

How I choose my rating:
1* Hated it. I had to force myself to finish it.
2** Didn't like it. I didn't hate it but not sure why I finished it other than for some closure.
3*** I liked it. I had some issues with it, but as a whole it was good. I probably won't reread ever, but there is a chance I might finish the series. (If part of one) But if not it's not a huge loss.
4**** I really liked this book. Maybe not a work of genius, but highly entertaining. I might reread this, and I will finish the series. (If part of one) I would recommend to those I know hold interest in this book's content.
5***** I loved this book. I found little to no issues with it at all. I will be rereading this and probably more than once. I will finish the series and reread it multiple times. (If part of one) I will recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!

Profile Image for jammaster_mom.
957 reviews4 followers
September 1, 2018
**sigh** I REALLY wanted to like this book! **sigh**

I very much enjoyed the original series, The Parasol Protectorate. The first two books of this series were good and engaging. This book just fell flat.

I was expecting a steampunk/mystery/adventure/buddy story. The majority of this book finds the crew traveling with very little action to be had. The only exciting adventure bit is in the last 100 pages and it wasn't that engaging. The majority of the book ends up being the inner thoughts of the characters and this leads to what amounts to an LGBTQ treatise. This felt like a very political statement by the author to assert a viewpoint that is very important to her. I have no issue with that at all. I just wish it hadn't been done under the guise of a steampunk book. The book suffered from being in the middle of a series. There wasn't very much action or adventure to be had and what was there felt thrown in as an after thought. I hope the next book goes in a different direction and back towards a steampunk story line.
Profile Image for Asia.
516 reviews26 followers
August 5, 2018
I don't know what it is with "Custard Protocol" series but I don't enjoy it as much as other Gail Carriger's books. I like them but some things bother me and sadly, it's just not on the level of "Parasol Protectorate" (which is one of my favorite series ever!).
Profile Image for Wing Kee.
2,091 reviews29 followers
September 19, 2018
Charming world building, wonderful banter, a fun ride.

I am going to say this here, I am biased, I love Carriger’s world so everything she does so far that I’ve read I’ve gushed over so this review will not be objective at all.

World: The world building is fantastic, it’s a continuation on everything that Carriger has done since Soulless and with the Custard Protocol she has expanded the world even further. With this new book we see the crew of the Spotted Custard go to somewhere the series has not gone before Singapore and South America and it’s pretty wonderful what Carriger has created there with the new races and the people exploring this world is one of my favorite things. It’s well thought out, ridiculously charming and bonkers at the same time. The world building simply sets the tone wonderfully for readers.

Story: I love that this story is not told in Prudence’s point of view, we’ve had two books with her and her story and characters were pretty fleshed out and with what happened with La Fou (I’m gonna butcher the spelling so sorry in advanced) I didn’t know where it would go. So when I started this book and found that it was told from the perspective of Primrose and Percy I was really happy. I love these to character when we saw them from Pru’s perspective but through the eyes of the twins the world is slightly different and also interestingly fresh. The story doesn’t really get into gear until about halfway through the book as is the way with Carriger. The main point of the books have always been discovery of the world and also the slice of life stuff that happens with this group of characters and if you liked what happened in the previous two book you will love what you have here. It’s banter, it’s ridicuolus situations, fun dialog and emotions and then an adventure to tie it all in. The new location is fun and also the Fish Tacos (I’m sorry but I’m calling them that) made me laugh out loud when I learned of them. As I said, the story is basic but the characters and the world it’s set it makes this a wonderful read and a great addition to the series.

Characters: I really love the point of view change, Primrose and Percy are great and their different personalities to Pru made for an interesting read. Add to that I don’t recall in the Parasol and the Finish School and now the Custard Protocol there being a male point of view and I rather enjoyed that change. I also liked the relationships in this book as they are slow boils and the chemistry is real and earned which I have a big issue for a lot of other genre fiction. I can’t say too much cause the new pieces that Carriger has created here are just as charming and endearing and they need to be experienced.

I love Carriger’s sense of humor, world building and writing and this is just more of the same awesome.

Onward to the next book!
Profile Image for Carolyn F..
3,389 reviews51 followers
August 23, 2018

Quirky funny book, like all of the other books I've read by the author. Very enjoyable. New kind of supernatural introduced. Slow moving romance came to fruition. I recommend the book/series.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews614 followers
July 31, 2018
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

COMPETENCE, the third book in the Custard Protocol series continues the excellent adventures in frivolity, fun, and danger that the crew of the Spotted Custard find themselves on. I absolutely love the world this series is set in and the expert combination of steampunk and romance is key to that for me. There is always more world for the Spotted Custard crew to discover and and it was fun to see a different take on vampires and vampire lore in Peru which involved dangerous yet amusing cultural clashes and misidentifications as one has come to expect from this series.

COMPETENCE shakes things up a bit and gives over the narrative to Primrose and Percy Tunstell which was a great idea as we get to see the characters we've grown to love from a different perspective and get to know the Tunstell siblings better. COMPETENCE is a turning point for Primrose as she comes to terms with her sexuality and the fact that keeping up appearances of propriety isn't all that important, especially with those she cares for. I liked seeing Primrose's journey of discovery and seeing her be the hero of a story in this series for once.

Her brother, Percy Tunstell takes on the other half of the narrative and he is an absolute delight! While he has always come off as slightly awkward or oblivious to social cues he is surprisingly insightful-much to the consternation of his sister.

I adored COMPETENCE and the story ends pretty neatly, or as neatly as this wonderfully quirky series can. Luckily this is not the end for the crew of the Spotted Custard since there are still some loose story threads that need to be tied up. I'm especially excited to see what is in store for Percy in RETICENCE.
Profile Image for Hannah Stewart.
187 reviews3 followers
December 29, 2018
I have a grievance, which I must air.
This grievance is still occurring in YA (as well as other genres, but it’s particularly present in YA books), despite the backlash which I first noted over a decade ago (quite possibly longer, if feminism caught on to it).
This is all about the relationships, one in particular.
Yet, we still see these types of ‘relationships’ being written about, as though it’s an okay thing to do.
I’m speaking about those ‘pressured’ relationships. You know, the one where there is a dominant party who is ‘in love’ with another (usually the protagonist) and even though the protagonist(for arguments sake, we’ll say the protagonist as that’s what I’ve chosen above, and will be referred to from here-on out as the protagonist and the dominant love interest) isn’t 100% sure about their feelings for the dominant love interest, the dominant live interest uses dominance (cough, I was unable to think of another term) to get what they want ie supposedly make the protagonist ‘fall in love’ with them.
In this case, Prim and Tash. And just because it’s a same-sex relationship, doesn’t mean you can still get away with it.
And no. It’s not ok. It’s just dominant coercion. It’s 2018 and abuse (even in flattering forms) is not ok. (And not the bullying by friends either whilst we are at it).
And I get it, it’s not just Gail Carriger using this (very outdated) storyline but... I’m not happy about it. I feel that it’s meant to be tolerated in this instance because the rest of the story is so ‘hip and cool and up-to-date, look at us, it’s a gay couple, how progressive of us’ but it’s still not ok, it’s quite a regressive attitude/storyline.
No doubt my opinion is very controversial but this is what I have taken away from this book, not anything new and progressive.
(The predictable change of heart still felt dodgy. Maybe my vision was coloured from preceding chapters but it still felt like ‘oh well, we have to somehow resolve this, look, she’s realised she’s in love’ type of switch).
Profile Image for K..
3,686 reviews1,007 followers
September 12, 2018
Trigger warnings: violence, blood.

I've been a little hit or miss with the books in this series to date. I haven't enjoyed them nearly as much as the books in the Parasol Protectorate series or the Finishing School series. But they're still a hell of a lot of fun.

This one I enjoyed more than the previous two - it cuts back and forth between Percy and Primrose as narrators, so we get to see Rue from the perspective of her friends, which is certainly intriguing. There's a fantastic relationship that crops up in the course of this book, and it's great fun getting to see more of this world, with the gang travelling from Singapore to Peru.

Basically? I really enjoyed this. Like, a lot.
Profile Image for Tansy Roberts.
Author 117 books256 followers
April 3, 2019
My favourite of this series so far! I really enjoyed Prudence/Rue as a protagonist, but I ADORE the combo of Primrose and Percy that we get here! Lovely mix of romance, friendship, adventure and delicious comestibles.
Profile Image for Wiebke (1book1review).
894 reviews497 followers
June 2, 2019
This turned out to be more of a character study of Prim and Percy. We get everything from their pov and genereally follow their storyline on board the Spotted Custard.
While I do think it was an interesting insight into their personalities and seeing Prim struggle to let go of social expectations to follow her heart was just as endearing as seeing that there is more to Percy than we thought before.
However, the rest of the plot is lacking or rather failing to captivate.
I recommend it for fans of her writing and anyone who likes to be in the universe and continue with the series, but if you go in expecting to be carried away by story you will be disappointed.
Profile Image for iam.
973 reviews130 followers
July 21, 2018
4.5 stars
What a delightful addition to the Custard Protocol series!

I knew from the very first book that I would love Primrose and Percy, so when I heard that books 3 and 4 would be from their perspective I was delighted. Competence focuses more on Prim, while book 4, Reticence, will have Percy at its center.

The story is closed in itself and only losely guides the book's events. The crew of the Spottet Custard starts out in Singapore with a dangerous lack of helium in the dirigible's balloon, but eventually takes course towards South America, specifically Peru, where they are to find and save a local species of vampires from extinction.

The plot is very much driven by the characters, mainly Prim, who is a delight, but who's ever present armor of proriety is in danger of cracking under werelioness Tasherit Sekhmet's not-so-proper attentions. She doesn't know what she wants, or maybe she does, but what she's sure of is that she DOES want something that she really shouldn't. All while organizing the current adventure.
Percy is equally delightful and I adored the parts written from his POV. Other than his twin sister he doesn't care what others think about him at all. He knows he is intellectually superior to everyone on the ship, and it's not arrogance when it's the truth, right? He's always in pursuit of new scientific discoveries and can be overly direct bordering on rude, and he cares about little else besides that, while at the same time he is also incredibly perceptive about what is going on with the people around him - sometimes even knowing what they want better than they do.

Then there's Tasherit, fierce werelioness who's absolutely smitten and determined to claim Prim as hers; Rue, captain of the ship and adventurous as ever, knowing she can rely on her best friend since childhood and there for her when she needs her; Anitra, a drifter born in the skies living her life the way she never dared to hope for; Rodrigo, technically not a member of the crew but their prisoner given that he tried to kill them, templar upbringing and all; and many more old and new faces (though mostly old ones, so I wouldn't recommend reading this as a standalone despite the story being rather self-contained.)
I loved the interactions between all these different characters, the nuanced friendships between each set of them: new-found allies, deep bonds of affection and trust, rivals with a long history, long-suffering but loving siblings, and many more.
I particularly enjoyed Rue and Prim's friendship, Prim and Percy's sibling relationship, and Percy's bond with his cat Footnote.

The writing is excellent as always from this author, and the typical humor is there as well, with countless great quotes. I marked a lot of places in the book because they were funny, insightful or simply wanted to be able to revisit them.

What I especially adored about Competence was the way it explores these young adults' sexualities (all protagonists are in their early twenties). The previous books already did a good job of that with Rue, but there it was more about a young woman who wants to discover the pleasures of sex, while in Competence it focuses more on the actual sexuality.
Percy is very self-assured in his sexuality (he conducted thorough research and experiments in the past) but Prim is.... not. At the start of the book she has a lot of internalized homophobia, and it's heartbreaking at times. She knows what society expects of her and is very concerned with how she is perceived and what is considered 'proper' - and she's very well aware that her lack of interest in men is not considered proper at all. How her lack of DISinterest in women is considered... she doesn't even want to think about it. Which is hard with a beautiful and very distracting werelioness prancing around her, doing everything to get her attention...
It was heartbreaking to see her struggle with self-acceptance, but I liked how it was handled in the (happy) end and overall the book is light-hearted.

Something that I want to mention is the treatment of a trans character, specifically how they revealed they were trans. Detailed descriptions under the cut.

In these books, "modern" labels as we use today are not used. Characters don't say they are gay, lesbian, or trans for that matter, but express their identity through other phrases, means or words. I guess this is to blame on the historical setting. I don't know which or if any labels were used in the mid to late 1800s, but some of the describtions used instead are extremely questionable, and I found a few of them to be very trans exclusive and they might be considered harmful.

Ultimately I enjoyed reading Competence a lot. I liked the big queer cast, the characters, plot and setting, but some of the queer aspects could have been handled a lot better.
I'm very much looking forward to a lot of things in book 4: More of Percy, Prim and the (growing!!!!) crew, Percy's love interest, who of Sophoronia's schoolmates has a child that will join the Spotted Custard, and I hope Captain Lu makes a reappearance!
Profile Image for Denver Public Library.
607 reviews273 followers
December 17, 2018
Competence continues the fun steampunk romp known as the Custard Protocol series in this third book of the series. For the first time, Carriger switches the point-of-view to the twins, Primrose and Percy. Prim is dealing with the crumbling dreams she had always envisioned for herself: children, family, respectability, and running a home. Her enjoyment of her current itinerant life on the dirigible, however, has thrown those childhood dreams into disarray and she’s not sure what she wants. While the adventures (stealing helium, unexplored atmospheric pathways, South American vampires!) keep this an easy read, Carriger’s focus on character building, identity, and family of choice also slide in to provide food for thought.

Carriger has said one book, featuring Percy this time, is left in the series and will likely be published in in early fall 2019. Fans eager to devour Carriger’s books have plenty to choose from her back catalogue.

Get Competence from the Denver Public Library

- Stacey G
February 6, 2021
Once again Gail Carriger has written an exciting and witty adventure, full of rich and well-rounded characters. I love her wonderfully diverse world. This instalment of the Custard Protocol focuses more on Prim and Tasherit and their budding romance, with a smidgeon of intrigue thrown in for good measure.
Profile Image for Rea K.
707 reviews36 followers
April 25, 2019
It was kind of terrible. I kept wishing that the book would just end, and for once I was grateful for the pile of extras at the end.
I had a suspicion towards one end event at a point in the middle, so I was fairly content with that.
There was just something about this book that rubbed me the wrong way. I can't quite put my finger on what was the wrongest thing, but I know a few things that bothered me.
I really couldn't stand Prim. Like. She was a bubble head and it frustrated me.
It seemed like Carriger was trying to turn her book into something that it wasn't. I turn to carriger for fluff. Because there is no way I can take some of these characters seriously. I just felt that she has been trying to bring out new supernatural creatures in each novel and we aren't really exploring any of them. That and the whole modern diversity was heavy handed. Oh yes. Diversity is fine and good, I just felt smothered by Prim. We've been seeing her around Tasherit for two books. It was just painful. Every extra "oh. Obviously not because it resembles the lioness" made me nauseated. I know this is supposed to take place in the 1890s, but it was painfully bad. For a woman who puts a wide variety of sexuality stuff into her books, you'd think this wouldn't have felt so stilted and annoying.
The other new pairing was fine. There was a twist that seemed bizarre and, thinking back to the parasol protectorate, wrong, but overall, it didn't bother me overly much.
The new vampires seemed pathetic. The whole situation was sketchy. I wasn't quite sure the whole "go to south America and rescue these vampires" was plausible.
Also, I had, wrongly, been under the impression that Prim was stranded for far longer than she was. I figured if it made it into the synopsis, it would last for a while, but alas, it did not.
I still think Rue is an incredibly spoiled brat, running around with no care for anyone but herself, and she's forever crashing around like a giant octopus mechanical in London. I believe she views herself as invincible. I still have my doubts that the daughter of alexia would be like this, but maybe she's this way to spite her mother and because she's super special. She's a bit less likeable from Percy and Prim's POV.

I'm hoping to catch up with Sophronia from the finishing school series at some point, but I have many doubts.
Profile Image for Linniegayl.
849 reviews23 followers
January 7, 2021
I listened to this in audio. As always, Moira Quirk was a delightful narrator. I wasn't convinced I would enjoy this entry in the Custard Protocol series, as I knew it was Prim's story (the daughter of Ivy Tunstell, Vampire Queen and best friend of Alexia from the Parasol Protectorate series). And I'll admit, the opening chapters in Singapore were a bit slow for me focusing almost completely on Prim and Tasherit. Tasherit is clearly still in love with Prim, and Prim -- while attracted -- is resisting her.

However, I was quickly won over to the story, as we learn a lot more about Prim; I never guessed that she's as close in personality to Alexia as any of the other characters could get. We also get a number of sections told from Percy's point of view, which was fun.

Once Prim and Tasherit get back on board the ship, they learn they're being sent to Peru to investigate -- and perhaps rescue -- a rare group of vampires under attack there.

I enjoyed the character development, not just of Prim and Percy, but also of much of the rest of the crew.

My only problem? The end of the book wraps things up so neatly for most of the major characters, that I'm afraid this may be the last in the series! Oh NO!!!!

This is an A- for me, and I can't wait to read Ms. Carriger's next book, no matter who it features.

January 7, 2021: I finished my first audio re-read of this, and agree with all I wrote above
Profile Image for Wendy.
2,325 reviews40 followers
August 2, 2018
“Competence” revolves around the adventures of the crew of “the Spotted Custard” as they face a crisis with a slow leak in their dirigible; Prim Turnstell schemes to replenish the lost helium; the ethical reform of Prudence Akeldama’s cousin Rodrigo Tarabotti; and the rescue of a new type of vampire in Peru.

Revolving mainly around Prim Tunstell the plot tends to deal more with her romantic entanglement with the werecat Miss Sekhmet than the madcap adventures which seem to be secondary. Yet it’s intriguing and humorous, the action overflowing when chaos brews as a helium filled dropsy falls on the dirigible terrifying its passengers; the crew faces off with an enemy airship in the aetherosphere; and Prue, Rodrigo and the werecat confront an enraged dying vampiric race. Intensity and suspense escalate near the end when Prim, Prue and Professor Perceival Tunstell set their minds on working out a plan to approach and save the Pistachos after the violent clash that send the Spotted Custard hovering out of reach above the hacienda.

Primrose Tunstell the airship's chief organizer and best friend of amiable, honest and shrewd Captain Prudence (Prue) Akeldama is self-effacing, fearless and insecure in her love life. Constantly she talks about wanting a husband, home and family to care for only to face a broken engagement and being romantically pursued by a lovesick werecat. Miss Tasherit Sekhmet an immortal is disciplined, fierce, loyal and stubborn in her pursuit of Prim whose twin brother Perceival Tunstell is a delight with his brilliance, arrogance and acerbic personality. While I wasn’t drawn into the quirky romantic aspect of the story which felt like nothing more than a strong statement about unconventional relationships, I did enjoy the family closeness of the crew and the complexity and depth of characters who added color and excitement to the adventure.

“Competence” is not my favorite of Gail Carriger’s novel but it is well-written, witty and a fun adventure. I would rate it a 3.5 but have given it a 4.0 because of the scale.
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