Monday, January 20, 2014

Curtsies & Conspiracies

 Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School, Book 2
Number of Pages: 310
Date Read: 1/20/14
Genre: Steampunk, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal

Synopsis (Found on

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.

My Review:

I really liked this book. 

This book is set months(?) after the first one with Sophronia still in the the finishing school. All of her group mates and herself take a 6 month review test to see how they are faring in the art of spying and espionage. After the testing and results the plot changes to the school taking a trip to London to see an experiment involving the aether and traveling in the aethersphere by a Mr. Giffard and his dirigible. The real experiment is seeing how a vampire reacts in the aethersphere but of course no one knows that a vampire is going with Mr. Giffard to test it. In tune with the trip the plot includes 10 boys from Bunson's evil genius school being on the girl's dirigible to go witness the experiment as well. Added to the plot is the attempts of kidnapping Dimity and Pullover, something to do with manufacturing and selling smaller versions of the prototype from the last book that has to do with aether currents and Monique's coming out ball. All these plots are tied together well in the end of the book.

Like I said before, steampunk's gadgets and inventions are not a favorite of mine and are very hard for me to imagine and follow. I had to read certain parts of the book over and over to understand the technology and to get a clear picture in my head. I admit that some of the inventions I looked up on the internet to see what the book was talking about. I guess if your into this stuff its easy to follow, but for readers like me, understanding the basics of what is being said does not take away from the book. I don need to know the details and specifics, I just need the jist of whats going on because no matter how much I read it, I still won't get the details. Oh well. Just be assured that understanding the basics wont't take away from the plot or the enjoyment of the book. 

Once again, I love Sophronia. Just seeing the way her mind thinks is amazing. In this book she has a whole new set of plans and daring moves that she executes in a funny and successful manner. She is still loyal to Dimity, Agatha and Sidheag and includes them in her schemes. She is still daring, spunky and funny. In this book, Sophronia finds herself the attraction of toe boys. One is a visiting Bunson boy, Lord Felix Mersey. Felix is very forward and banters with Sophronia and is its clear that he is attracted to her. He is the son of a duke and in the high ups of society. He is very handsome and I like the fact that he wears kohl on his eyes. That's just my thing. Sophronia's other prospect is Soap, her sootie friend from the boiler room. Once Soap hears that Felix like Sophronia his demeanor changes around her and he becomes more protective and flirtatious with her. Sophronia is not sure of her feelings about either boy. She flirts with both, although she claims not to realize she's doing it with Soap. She finds Felix good looking and it can be said that she likes him at least a bit. Its clear that Sophronia likes Soap but she is not sure in which way. She realizes that their positions in society would never really allow them to be together and throughout the book she keeps saying that he is just "a friend". BUT when circumstances arise that involves them being physically close together, she admits to herself that she likes it and that she's thinking of Soap in a different way. I personally as of now, do not have an opinion of who I want Sophronia to be with, which is a first for me. Usually when there is a love triangle I know which guy I want the heroine to end up with and I don't divert my opinion. But in this book, I like both boys a lot. Felix and Soap are both fun in their own ways and complement Sophronia in different ways. Felix because of his standing in society must be formal with Sophronia but he also adds jokes and playful banter to his conversations with her. With Soap, Sophronia is informal and can talk to him like she does with her friends. Either boy is good for Sophronia and I would be happy with either one as I really like both of them. Also I may not have alot to go on to form an opinion yet because while the romance is in the book it does not take the focus of the plot and is in the background. 

I also like Sophronia the way she is now, single, without a man/boy because these books are all about her and her personality, which is something that not many YA books have. Most of them have a heroine who automatically falls in love and its like she needs a guy to get through all the things in the book. Sophronia is her own person and while she elicits help from Felix and Soap, she doesn't NEED them to get through situations. In fact, with her its the opposite; the boys need HER for help. I like that Sophronia is such a strong heroine comfortable in her own skin. 

This book has to have one of the best cast of characters that I've ever read about. All of them have their own personalities and I find myself liking all of them even the ones who are the so called "bad guys". 

As always I like the classes that Sophronia takes with the espionage, intelligence gathering, subterfuge and poisoning. If my school offered these classes I would jump at the chance to go to school. It all sounds very fun. 

I would most definitely recommend this series. They are light, funny, entertaining and quick to read. I can't wait for the next book:
Waistcoats & Weaponary!


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