Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ARC Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry
Series: Finishing School #3
Author: Gail Carriger
Published: November 4, 2014 by Little Brown
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Class is back in session... 

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review in return. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

If you have been following my reviews of this series you will realize my one major comment about this book, this is a series that keeps getting better. The first book was good, the second book was better, but this one I really enjoyed. The world keeps growing, the characters keep developing, and the plot is becoming much more intricate and mysterious.

What has always struck me about this series is the world. This past year I have become such a fan of steampunk fantasies. The Victorian era has always been a favorite for Historical Fiction and with the addition of machinery and inventions things are all the more interesting. Gail Carriger does a great job of making things like dirigibles, robots, and other inventions seem perfectly normal and completely interesting at the same time. In this book we got to further expand the universe that this world inhabits. Most of the time was spent away from the school, putting what has been learned in previous books into practice.

Plus things are taking on a decidedly more political tone, especially when it comes to the supernatural creatures that inhabit this world. With the first books things were very narrow. We were only introduced to the three major groups within this series: vampires, werewolves, and Picklemen (these are not half men, half pickles. At least I think they're not). In the second book we got to learn more about vampires and their Picklmen and experience a little bit of the dichotomy between these progressive and conservative ideologies respectively. In Weapons & Waistcoats those ideologies came in direct competition. A competition that began early on but was hanging below the surface.  Plus we got to learn more about the werewolves in this book, which was extremely interesting.

However these two different explorations of the world led to a kind of muddled plot development. With the first few books in the series things were extremely narrow. So narrow that it felt like there was almost no plot development. Then in this book there was almost too much! It was like it was making up for lost time when it came to the larger plot of the book while also incorporating an individual storyline for this book. Or maybe this plot was also below the surface and it only come out in this book. Series love doing that, waiting till it's almost over and then telling you everything that they were keeping from you in the previous book. And with things coming to the surface, there was definitely a lot more big reveals in this book. We learned about what is going on within the larger world and really what is at stake. Little things from previous books that seemed unconnected got connected and there was much more mystery again.That being said, I love an exciting plot and this book definitely had a lot of excitment. It was probably the most thrilling of the three books so far and it definitely had the best pacing. Things built to a really exciting conclusion. A conclusion that left me with seriously unexpected feels!

But those feels may have been less about the plot and more about the characters. Since the very beginning I've loved these characters. They're quirky and fun but in this book they became a little bit more complex. With the expansion of the world, we are narrowing our focus on just a few characters. And while some favorites like Vieve and Professor Braithwope were sorely missed in this book, we got to know many of the other characters a lot better. Secondary characters like Dimity, Sidheag, Soap, and Felix had some great character development in this book. And so did Sophronia. For the first time I would say we got to see her in a more vulnerable place. A place where she wasn't entirely sure of herself, where she saw the consequences of her actions, and where she saw that not everything is how she wants it to be. Before this book she was put in difficult situations but this is the first time where she couldn't be the hero and it was kind of nice.

I've really enjoyed being along for the ride with this series. If you had asked me two books ago if I would be anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this series, I would have said probably not, but now I am hooked. I can't wait to see how it will all end. I'm also even more curious about checking out the Parasol Protectorate series now. In the mean time, maybe I will check that series out. I want to see how this world develops and to see what happens to some of these characters (I hear there are familiar faces).

I give Weapons and Waistcoats by Gail Carriger 8.5 out of 10.

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you enjoyed the first two books in this series then definitely add this one to your list, it just keeps getting better. If you are looking for a steampunk Young Adult series then check this one out. It has an interesting world, quirky characters, and gets better as it goes one. I would recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. I think the same thing! Just keeps getting better and better! I can't wait til book 4! And YES, the characters! So many feels about the characters in this book. I need to know what happens next!!! Great review, Cassi! I am so glad that you enjoyed reading it!