Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Competence (Custard Protocol, #3)” as Want to Read:
Competence (Custard Protocol, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(The Custard Protocol #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  5,086 ratings  ·  627 reviews
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 emba
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Orbit
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Competence, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Elena Prim and Percy are the narrators here, but it's still all about the Spotted Custard and her crew, so Rue is very present throughout. I actually really…morePrim and Percy are the narrators here, but it's still all about the Spotted Custard and her crew, so Rue is very present throughout. I actually really enjoyed seeing Rue from the perspective of her two best friends.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,086 ratings  ·  627 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Competence (Custard Protocol, #3)
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 ...more
Maria V. Snyder
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2020
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 gre
Ashley Marie
Thanks to theatre this one took me ages to read, but it was an absolute joy every time I picked it up. I adore these characters and this world so much.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
*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
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 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. ...more
Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)
I think this is my favourite out of this series so far! I loved seeing things from Prim's point of view, as well as Percy's. It fully lived up to the rest of the books set in this world. I can't wait until next year for Percy's book! I'm lowkey in love with him. ...more
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Amber J
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 d
Wing Kee
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 no
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!). ...more
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
Jan 29, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2018-releases
*squee* I can't waaaaait!! ...more
Carolyn F.

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.
All Things Urban Fantasy
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 whic
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 t
Tansy Roberts
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Wiebke (1book1review)
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 h
Aug 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
**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 c
Denver Public Library
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, staceyg
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 ...more
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 balloo
T.D. Whittle
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love The Custard Protocol even more than its predecessor, The Parasol Protectorate. The crew of the Spotted Custard is so bold, adventurous, charming, and wonderfully varied, as well as being very funny. Reading about their adventures makes me want to go on a long trip with them―but, alas, my parasol is fresh out of bullets and I'm stuck in the 21st century. ...more
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
Actual rating: 4.00
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 resi ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
“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
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
At one point, I considered dropping this series, and Competence makes me glad that I didn't. There's been some white savior shit in this series, but this one's lighter on the plot, avoiding that mistake with a plot that barely registers, and heavier on the romance. It's humorous, irreverent and full of kissing, which is what I liked best from Carriger anyway.

The prior books were about Rue and Quesnel, but they've settled into happy couple status and the POV has shifted to Tunstell siblings Prim
Danielle T
I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and perhaps it's because Rue is no longer the POV character. I believe in my review for the first Custard Protocol book I mentioned Primrose's particularity about propriety seemed almost cartoonish, but once we're in her head we see it's an armor against the world. She's literally the most competent person on the airship, and I liked being in her head.

As with other Custard Protocol books, I was wary about naïve young imperialist Brits gazing at the world, but by
Kurt Springs
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review was first published on Kurt's Frontier.


The crew of the Spotted Custard is at it again. Miss Primrose Tunstell begins her adventures in Competence by stealing helium to save her airship. Her scheme involves a lovesick werelioness and a fish tail. Once the crew fixes the leak, fills the helium bladders, and tops off the coal stocks, Prim receives a message about a novel kind of vampire in Peru. The journey that follows involves navigation errors and pirates. During the journey
April Sarah
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
3.5 Stars.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Gail Carriger Fan...: 07/01-07/14: Competence 6 19 Jul 12, 2019 05:26PM  
Gail Carriger Fan...: July 2018: Competence by Gail Carriger 5 41 Aug 18, 2018 03:33PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Marine Biology (San Andreas Shifters, #0.5)
  • The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1)
  • The Omega Objection (San Andreas Shifters, #2)
  • The Enforcer Enigma (San Andreas Shifters, #3)
  • The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars, #1)
  • Vixen Ecology (San Andreas Shifters, #3.5)
  • Vanity and Vampyres (Manners and Monsters, #4)
  • An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell, #6)
  • The Dark Archive (The Invisible Library, #7)
  • The Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock, #4)
  • Galvanism and Ghouls (Manners and Monsters, #2)
  • Manners and Monsters (Manners and Monsters, #1)
  • The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock, #3)
  • Gossip and Gorgons (Manners and Monsters, #3)
  • Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock, #5)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell, #5)
  • Dreadful Company (Dr. Greta Helsing, #2)
  • Imaginary Numbers (InCryptid, #9)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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 gigg ...more

Other books in the series

The Custard Protocol (4 books)
  • Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)
  • Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, #2)
  • Reticence (Custard Protocol, #4)

Related Articles

  Talia Hibbert is a bestselling romance author and certified book nerd. Her hobbies include reading about baking, reading about chess, reading...
94 likes · 17 comments
I live on a ship full of outcasts, populated by society's unacceptable. And yet, here I stand, happy. And I love them all.
It is time,
Primrose thought, to tender myself the same level of courtesy. Or perhaps it is time that I simply accepted that I too am one of the strange and abandoned. Appearances be damned.
“Yes?" Percy did not try to tame the grumpiness in his voice. He hated to be disturbed while he was reading. Of course, he was always reading, but that did not signify.” 5 likes
More quotes…