Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Review: Competence by Gail Carriger

Title: Competence
Series: Custard Protocol #3
Written by: Gail Carriger
Published: July 17, 2018 by Orbit

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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?

I adore Gail Carriger and her books. They are always such a pleasure to read and I need a fast and fun book to read this summer. Of course a Gail Carriger book is a great choice for that. This book, like all her previous were full of adventure, humor, and amazing characters.

I absolutely love the characters in all of Carriger's series and in three books I have come to love these characters so much. In this book the focus shifts a little bit to be less about Prudence and more about some of the other characters in the series. Rue of course was as fabulous and fiesty as ever. But it was nice to get a little bit more of a focus on the other characters, especially Prim and Percy. I absolutely love the Tunstell twins so getting this book from their perspective was so fantastic. Prim is really the one who gets the cover and the majority of play though. She has really great development here. The characters are really the foundation of this series. Their quirky, complex, and incredibly likable.

One of the things that I have to say about the characters, because it is one of the things I love about this series and Carriger's books in general is the LGBTQIA representation. It's great to see a book, with a historical setting no less, not shy away from those kinds of characters and embrace them in a really great way. You really connect with these characters and their desire for love. And I really appreciated the fact that Carriger had Prim at the center of this dealing with how society would view her for the person that she loves. It added a good dimension to the relationship and made it all the more satisfying.

But this is not just a book with good character development, it is also a book with great plot development. Carriger's books are always full of action and adventure and Competence was no exception. There are daring escapes and thrilling fight scenes that keep a plot driven reader like me on their toes. One thing I will say however, is that the adventure story aspect really did feel like a bit of an afterthought. This was more a quieter and character-focused narrative. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, it's just different.

The other thing that I really loved about this book was the setting. This series is one that feels like a globe trotting adventure. It takes you all around the world and in this book it took the reader from Asia to South America. I loved being able to explore the two different places, especially Peru. Peru is one of those places that I have always wanted to visit and after reading this book I want to do that even more now. The country really came alive along with it's history and culture. I also really liked the way that Carriger incorporated a specific supernatural creature that is rooted in the culture of Peru into the story. The combination of history, supernatural fantasy, and steampunk has always been the hallmark of Carriger's books and I love the way she is further developing the world with this book.

It's no surprise that I just adored this book. After 13 books Gail Carriger continues to delight and entertain me. The characters are amazing and likable, the plot is character-driven and engaging, and the setting is fantastic.

I give Competence by Gail Carriger 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you are a fan of Carriger, I'm sure I don't need to tell you to read this book. The Custard Protocol is an amazing series and I definitely recommend it to fans of steam punk, supernatural fantasies, or anyone looking for a fun and entertaining read.

Have you read Competence? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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