|Title: Curtsies and Conspiracies|
Series: Finishing School #2
Author: Gail Carriger
Published: 2013 by Little Brown
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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 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.
**** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion of the book****
Curtsies and Conspiracies once again reminded me that I should wait to judge a series until the second book. While I did like the first book in Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, Etiquette & Espionage, I wasn't really blown away. And while I wasn't blown away by this book either, I found it greatly improved. Curtsies and Conspiracies took the compelling world and interesting characters from the first book and stepped up the plot to make the book much more mysterious and engaging.
In Etiquette & Espionage my favorite thing about the book was the world. I seriously have been really digging the steampunk settings lately. I love that it combines the historic setting with it's ideas and views of society and adds machinery and technology that actually seems and kind of is historically accurate. It's something new and inventive but rooted in history. This series is no exception. In this book we get to spend more time at the floating school, Miss Geraldine's, and learn not only how to be a lady but how to be a spy. It's such a fun and interesting concept, and one that I really enjoyed. And just like most sequels it expanded the world further. Here we got to explore what steampunk London is like, if only briefly. And that exploration of London also included and exploration of the larger society of the time. I'm not sure I would really say that it got more political but we did get to experience the liberal and conservative forces at play in this world, with our fair heroes right in the middle. It created an interesting dimension to the story and I'm sure these two varying forces will come into play as the series develops.
And the world in this book also veered more towards the supernatural. I haven't read the Parasol Protectorate, Carriger's adult series set in this world, so this may be repeat information for those who have read that series, but I really enjoyed learning more about the supernatural side of things. In this book we got to learn a lot more about the vampires who inhabit this steampunk London. What I loved about this is that we got to see and experience vampire society. It wasn't just about how the lore, how vampires are created and who they are, it was about their hierarchy. It was about their strengths but also their weaknesses. It was detailed and interesting, and I loved being able to learn all about them in Curtsies & Conspiracies.
This book was a fun and interesting second book in a series full of an inventive world and quirky characters and a much more developed plot full of mystery and action.
I give Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger an 8 out of 10
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you're a fan of steampunk YA or looking for something fun and different within the fantasy genre than pick this series up the next time you're at the library.
Have you read Curtsies & Conspiracies? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!