Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School, #2
Released: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Atom
Format: Paperback, 310 pgs
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Does one need four fully-grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully-grown guests? Sophronia's first year at school has certainly been rousing. First, her finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised!). Secondly, she gets mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and has a cheese pie thrown at her. Now, as Sophronia sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than at first appears ...
Vampires, werewolves, and humans are all after the prototype Sophronia recovered in Etiquette & Espionage, which has the potential to alter human and supernatural travel. Sophronia must try to uncover who is behind a dangerous plot to control the prototype ... as well as survive the London season with a full dance card.
It would appear that Gail Carriger gets even more bold and hilarious with each new book she writes. Curtsies & Conspiracies is her most enjoyable work since Soulless, her debut, and it is by far the most outrageous and ridiculous thing I’ve read in a very long time.

By far the best thing about Carriger’s books is the language. As a non native speaker, I get to learn so many phrases and expressions, most of them outdated, but endlessly entertaining. In terms of language use in steampunk, Gail Carriger is, I dare say, the best.

It is impossible not to admire Sophronia for her ability to keep a tight rein on so many things at once. I wasn’t particularly fond of her the last time around, but this time she proved to be quite admirable. She was always a step ahead of everyone else, even when her peers resented her for it. If there’s one thing I appreciate above all, it’s an intelligent, self-assured heroine, and Gail Carriger’s always are.

A slight love triangle is forming around Sophronia. The unsuitable boy we all know and love is still very much a part of her everyday life, but another boy has entered the picture as well, one of much higher social standing. However, Sophronia is so focused on various conspiracies and blissfully unaware of it all that it’s impossible to blame her for putting herself in such a potentially painful situation. I, of course, am rooting for the underdog, but I don’t see how that could possibly work out.

Sophronia had no idea why Felix was so intent upon her. She had not yet received lessons in seduction, or she might have understood the appeal of sharp confidence, a topping figure, and green eyes. All Sophronia’s intellect was directed at something other than attracting male companionship. These things combined to make her particularly appealing to gentlemen. Soap could have told her that.

Carriger continues to ridicule high society, their endless rules and norms, things they find offensive and embarrassing. It is a constant source of humor with sharp and intelligent criticism underneath. In this too, she is unparalleled.

Revisiting Miss Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality in Curtsies & Conspiracies was such an enormous delight, I find myself impatient to meet with everyone again. The third book is titled Waistcoats and Weaponry and scheduled for release in 2014.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. As much as I enjoyed Soulless, I haven't been keen to pick up this series. And a love triangle? *skeptical* I'll wait to see how the trilogy plays out as a whole before diving into this one. Fantastic review, Maja - I'm so glad you're enjoying this!

  2. Oh, I'm glad to see you enjoyed this, Maja! I really love Carriger's writing, so this series is on the top of my list to read and devour. Wonderful review! :)

  3. Definitely agree about Carriger's use of language. It's so prissy and Victorian and it fits so beautifully. Plus, I love the names of the characters and how ridiculous it all is but it works.

  4. I haven't read the first book in this series yet, but I've had my eyes on it for a while now. After reading your review though, I'm not sure I want to because of the love triangle you mentioned brewing up. I just read a book where a love triangle emerged and it made me hate the entire book.
    Anyways, still, it sounds like the author knows how to make fun without appearing overly ridiculous.
    I'm glad to hear that this series is working for you, Maja.
    Lovely review!

  5. Oh YAY! I'm so happy you loved this one, Maja, because I adored the first and I can't wait to read this one. You nailed all of Gail Carriger's strengths. I could really use an entertaining book at the moment so I hope to make this one my next read because the humour and quirks were absolutely my favourite part of the first book, too! Excellent review.

  6. This series seems to be becoming many people's favourites in the steampunk genre, which I seem to have no luck with. I am always excited for steampunk books and then terribly let down, most notably so with Masque of the Red Death. I think it's because along with steampunk comes historical and that's where we butt heads. Happy that this one was so memorable and fun for you, Maja!

  7. I have heard so many great things about this author and both her series that I know I need to give her a try.
    Great review Maja!

    Have you tried her other series too?

  8. "it is by far the most outrageous and ridiculous thing I’ve read in a very long time."

    SO EXCITED MAJA! She has such an outstanding sense of humor, one that manages to be sophisticated even as it makes me spit my drink out laughing. I can't wait to see what Sophronia gets into in this book, and I can see her being a touch clueless about the love triangle situation. We'll just have to see what becomes of it I guess! Lovely review as always:)

  9. I know you weren't too thrilled with book 1 but I'm glad you liked book 2 much more, Maja. I love Carriger's sense of humor and the prissy language. Looking forward to reading my copy of this book. :)

  10. Aww a book with a book sense of humor that makes me happy. Been wanting to dive into this series. I hope with time i will. Great review hon.

  11. I've not read the first book in this series, but I would love to see the humor in this book :) I love these covers and I like that you are rooting for the underdog lol Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  12. I still haven't read the first book in this series and, yeah you're guessing, I've been planing to. I need to move from planing to some actions, like now. Anyhow I'm so glad that the sequel didn't disappoint. And humor in books is always welcome :) Great review, Maja :)

  13. I enjoyed this one a lot as well. I have to admit, I don't hate the love triangle forming. It is an interesting pairing on both parts. One would be perfect for her job the other for her heart. However, I don't see it working during the time period or world this book inhabits. Still, I'm rooting for him too. :D

  14. OOoh nice review! I wasn't overly thrilled with the first one in this series sadly. Liked it, but didn't love it. Hoping that this one picks up for me! Sounds like a great read! And once again, great review!

  15. Book 1 was so meh for me so not more and that makes me sad

  16. Hmm. The first book was pretty slow for me, but I'm still curious about the series. Admittedly, I haven't read her adult books, so if I had, I might get more out of the YA ones.

  17. Wait, weren't you not a big fan of the first one? I have heard good things about this series and I need to take the plunge. I need some hilarity! Glad it worked for you but hate to see another blasted love triangle!

  18. Humor, in my mind, is a magnificent way to provide critiques of a culture. This sounds like a nice story, I like smart characters, love triangles can be bothersome but the other parts of the story intrigue me, especially the exciting slang to learn.

    Magnificent review! <3

  19. I'm so excited to read this! I love her humor and her books are always so FUN! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this even more then the first!

  20. I really loved Sophronia in the first book, and I'm glad to hear you find her more likable in this installment. I agree, Carriger seems to get better and better. This series is delightful, and i also enjoy the silly, outdated language. I do find myself getting quite swept up in it, thinking in that voice even when I'm taking a break from the book. :-) Awesome review!

  21. I loved her other series and I have book one of this one but I confess I haven't read it yet, I should try it!

  22. So good to see that the second book is better than the first one! I seldom read Steampunk but this one sounds really fun. Thanks for sharing!


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