From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.
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?
In this charming, laugh-out-loud steampunk escapade, set in an 1895 populated by a variety of supernatural creatures, the crew of the Spotted Custard return for a third adventure (after Imprudence). The focus shifts to the British airship's purser, Miss Primrose Tunstall, a straitlaced, proper young woman who finds her perceptions of self and propriety increasingly challenged by Tasherit, an immortal werelioness who persistently, and often nakedly, flirts with her. But romance, however unconventional, takes a backseat to adventure. Primrose and Tasherit must engineer a helium heist to save their ship, and then the Custard is dispatched to Peru to investigate rumors of a new breed of vampires. While there's a healthy dose of action in the form of airship pirates and other hazards of the open sky, the emphasis is on the character-driven, romantic comedy of manners at its heart. Carriger excels at wry humor and clever phrasing, and her ensemble cast is thoroughly charming and satisfyingly diverse. There's a genuine sense of whimsy and fun running throughout this story, making it a treat for fans of the series.
Hazards of Steam and Airship Travel
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, she ponders some of the more serious questions in this alternative Victorian world. Can a perfect book club return a person’s soul? Can she get her brother, Percy, to stop wearing that ridiculous fez? Can the right amount of lard in a Christmas pudding save an entire race of vampires? The crew does a stint impersonating Spanish inquisitors, complete with idiotic outfits.
The third book of The Custard Protocol shifts attention from Captain Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) to her best friend, one Miss Primrose Tunstell, called Prim. As with the previous two books, Gail Carriger has written Competence in the same tongue-in-cheek manner. The stereotypical Victorian mannerisms are still amusing and will keep the reader entertained as the plot builds up steam. (Sorry about the pun.) Prim finds her love life stuck in a quandary: her latest engagement has been called off. She is sure that the one person she is attracted to is not acceptable to her mother’s Victorian sensibilities. Through it all, they must get from Singapore to Peru to save a rare species of Andean vampire.
The witty character development continues. The hazards of steam and airship travel are exciting. Navigational and atmospheric anonymities make this more than a simple mode of travel. Changing the point-of-view from Rue to Prim adds dimension to the overall story arch. I’m looking forward to the fourth book: Reticence
Competence is excellent!
Yet another excellent read from Gail Carriger! Full of supernatural hijinks, and plenty of tea!
So much fun!
Loved this one. I’m a big fan of Ms Carriger’s work and this is one of her best. It had everything: a hilarious romp of a story, great character development, subtle social commentary, semi-hidden references to her other books for us fans to find, and a happy ending. Wonderful.