Friday, November 8, 2013

Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ Gail Carriger (earc) review

Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
November 6, 2013
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

(Finishing School #1, Etiquette and Espionage review - I don't think synopsis or review below contains spoilers)

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 school 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 sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger's YA debut 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.

Sophronia has been been at Mademoiselle Geraldine's - her covert finishing school - for several months now and enjoying it as much as ever. With the characters first introduced to us in the first book of the series, Etiquette and Espionage, back for more lessons and more adventures, there's also more fun to be had.

It doesn't seem necessary to read the previous book before you read Curtsies and Conspiracies as the characters' roles, that general 'what' of the school and anything else crucial is recapped well. Reading it will give a better view of their relationships, past interactions - some of which influence the present and events in C&C - and a make for an all-around fuller story. It's also a fantastic book worth reading.

Admittedly, I never quite got the mystery that Sophronia - and her friends - were trying to unravel this time, not like I would have preferred. I kind of didn't care, though. Everything about her investigation, the work she put into uncovering different bits of the plot, the sneaking around, the subterfuge, even, was all so enjoyable. Along with the information that Sophronia - and readers - gather about the Finishing School world along the way, the school, friendship drama and the new (or newly acknowledged) relationship drama, all makes for a incredibly fun to read, really enjoyable story.

I, still, have yet to read the The Parasol Protectorate series for which this is a prequel/spin-off series, but this book helps give a deeper understanding of the world. How the vampires live, operate, the 'politics,' etc. We were introduced to the characters and the steampunk before with the mechanicals and the dirigible school, now we get more of the society. I liked it.

Some of the characters who have been a significant part of the story from the beginning took on some new roles in Curtsies and Conspiracies. Either literally or in Sophonia's eyes. I'm anxious to see where Book 3, Waistcoats & Weaponry take them. I do hope it's good! I also hope some of the new characters make more of an appearance next book . . . and maybe some of them make less of one.

The Finishing School series is proving to be a series that is great fun to read, one where I cannot wait for the release of the next book.

Rating: 8/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review

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