Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Steampunk
Sophronias first year at Mademoiselle Geraldines Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing. For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy. Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ships boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is at first apparent. A conspiracy is afootone 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.
Visiting Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality always guarantees a crazy good time for me. Gail Carriger's brand of Steampunk is just unique and her style is strictly her own and unparalleled IMO. The plot may be MG/YA but as it's well written and felt very authentic, even with the Steampunk elements, in terms of the time period, language, costumes, and all, I can't help but be swept away by Sophronia Temminick's latest adventure.
CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES is another cool installment. I love the idea of a finishing school disguised as an espionage academy where catty girls are trained to use their feminine wiles to spy and even assassinate. Whew! High School's got nothing on the girls Sophronia rolls with. Not only that but the actual school is a giant dirigible floating in Dartmoor with werewolves, automatons, and vampires for professors. It's like a mash-up of Sky High and Hogwarts with corsets and petticoats galore!
This time around Sophronia cracks down a vampire conspiracy interspersed with friendship cool-offs and courtships. The adventure part is full of clever action while Sophronia's personal life had me really invested and even giddy on some parts. The blush of first love and being courted by a handsome but arrogant blokes had my 16yo self in knots. GCarriger got flirting down to pat, the banter was sharp and witty while the sneaky seduction cute and affecting.
I love CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES and the series as a whole. The proper nouns are eccentric (who names their kid Sophronia with a last name like Temminnick?!) and dialogue alone is something else. I hope I can articulate it for you and stress why it's one of this series' greatest strength but I'm not that brilliant so just take my word for it. Let me just say that as Finishing School is a historical novel in essence, language is important and GCarriger aced that part perfectly. I found myself transported to the book's time period, sitting more erect like I'm at a frickin' tea party, and adapting a snotty British accent in my head as I read the novel. Suspended disbelief 100% in effect!
So if you're in the mood for something unique, whimsical, light, easy, and fantastical, I suggest you try Finishing School for a unique reading experience.