Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School, #2
Released: November 5th 2013
Format: Paperback, 310 pgs
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
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.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.
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 As a non native speaker, I get to learn so many phrases and expressions, most of them outdated, but endlessly entertaining.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.