Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Finishing School - Book the Second
Bookologist Analysis: This book was an awesome Victorian steampunk set on a dirigible.
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 Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.
Now, as she 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 field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.
In this bestselling sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.
What is better than being able to fly, go to boarding school, living as a lady, and learning how to be spy? Nothing. That is what makes the Finishing School and Sophronia so attractive the magical appeal that is impossible to find anywhere else. The characters and plot were secondary to the magnificent backdrop that the book is sent against.
Sophronia is a model character. For she both is extremely intelligent herself (she gets the highest scores for a six-month ever and is able to solve problems that the staff itself has trouble solving). Sophronia also depends on her friend just like any other person does, but she also uses them to her advantage. Sidheag is a girl that you can see struggles to be the person that she is supposed to be, but was brought up differently. Her military training however will never cease to amaze me with her directness. I call her and Captain Naill getting together. Vieve is cool little girl that is trying to cross boundaries. The romance triangle between Soap and Lord Mersey is played out a bit too much I feel. Dimity and Agatha are a bit too much of wimps for me. Supporting characters in this book are well played.
The plot itself is well chosen to carry it over from the last book. The valve is still central to the entire book. However, I felt all the references to Etiquette & Espionage are too much because I forgot some of it since I read it a couple of months ago. Teachers always being double spies are a bit old considering it was already there in the last book. I think the plot was getting a bit old; however I liked the add-on of the world building. We learned more about the supernatural states of vampires and werewolves, but I would like to know how they were there (such as is it hereditary, what is their social structure, etc.). The plot was a bit too connected to the old book to be considered a completely new book.
Overall this book did fall into a bit of a sequel slumper, but the only thing that saved it from being an entire slumper is the fact that it had flying schools and spies (extra brownie points any day). The book was a magnificent example of Victorian steampunk England. I do hope Gail is able to bring it up out of the dishes because I like Sophronia and her posse.