Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
Author: Gail Carriger
Publication: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Paranormal
Read: August 2016
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.
Plot – 4.5 out 5 stars
This book was entertaining and hilarious. It’s full of action and fun. Though it had it’s slow parts, it was mysterious and incorporated a lot more steampunk elements. There’s an essence of conspiracies through the plot (as I’m sure you’re not surprised because of the title) but there’s also a little bit more romance than the first. I had a great time reading it.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Honestly, this author’s writing is one of my favorites in the whole world. It’s funny yet simple to read. It’s quirky and cute with lots of detail and description. It flows at a medium pace which really compliments the story. It’s imaginative while still being historically accurate which I need in my historical fiction. Just a grand time.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Slowly but surely, this cast is worming themselves into my heart and settling there. Sophronia is great. I love her confidence. She grows a lot because of the events in the second book so in this one, her narration sounds more mature. She’s still witty and too curious for her own good which I liked. She’s super intuitive about what’s going on in her surrounding which makes her adventurous side come out. She’s determined about some things, torn over others but all in all, she’s definitely grown from the first book and I loved that! The side characters are also winning me over. They are all complex, interesting and DIVERSE which is awesome as heck. Each one has had a lot of growth from book one to book two, not only individually but in their relationships with each other. I really hope that trend continues in the next books because there’s so much potential for this cast. I’m really excited to see how time is handled for them in this series. Also, more love from Parasol Protectorate which just makes me fangirl so hard every time I see a character cross over!
While this book had slower moments, it was much more fun and entertaining than the first one was.
The plot is mysterious. Sophronia is back at the Finishing School after some time away and she’s ready to fine tune her intelligencer skills. But curious things are happening aboard the school and she’ll do everything she can to find out what they are. This book was more about the investigative and sneaking around kind of espionage than the kind that is more action packed and mission centered, so this book had it’s slow parts, quite a few of them actually. However, there were sections full action that pushed the momentum of the book forward as it went along and specially some sections toward the end of the book. Those last few chapters and scenes drove me completely crazy and were amazingly intense and full of action. It made me enjoy the story so much more than I first thought I was going to. One of my favorite things about this series and this book is how slowly but surely, the characters from Parasol Protectorate are appearing more and more. It’s really nice to see them in their early years and to see how both series are becoming intertwined even though they are years and years apart from each other. It’s intriguing to see how each individual book plot is starting to connect with the previous one to create a bigger and more complex story. I wasn’t very sure that it was something that could be done, specially when I first started reading this second book but once I reached the end, I found the common theme or denominator between the first two and I’m looking forward to seeing how this particular conflict is resolved in the next two books.
Sophronia is a badass. I officially love her to death. She’s really smart and intuitive. She’s always the first to figure out when things are going wrong and always manages to have a crazy theory and or plan to get things fixed. However, it’s also a bit repetitive and slightly annoying when she always saves the day and I think that’s a particular character flaw of hers. She’s so independent that she starts to take her friends for granted when really, she couldn’t pull half of her crazy stunts off if she didn’t have their support. I hope that’s a realization that she comes to soon because I think that would really help develop her personality and character.
I love the side characters in this series, I don’t know which cast I love more to be honest. Dimity has slowly become Sophronia’s best friend and confidant and I love her personality. She’s sweet and smart, even though she underestimates herself and the things she can do with her training. I hope she continues to grow and develop into her abilities and becomes more confident in herself. Soap is one of my favorite characters. I want to talk about him for hours but I don’t want to give away his role in this book. He’s freaking adorable and I love his personality and the way he interacts Sophronia. There’s a new character that’s focused on a bit more in this book and that is Felix. He annoyed the heck out of me. I did not want to know more about him and I feel like I instantly knew that he was going to cause trouble for my favorite characters. I’m not sure how much damage he’s gonna cause yet but I’m not looking forward to it.
Overall, I enjoyed this second installment much more than the first book. While this plot has a lot more slower sections, the action parts were amazing and entertaining and I started to be able to see the connection between the books. Sophronia and her pals are winning me over with their quirks and eccentricities and I hope to see them develop much more in the upcoming books.
So that’s it for this post! Please give this series a try. If you’re more into YA, you could start with this one and continue on with Parasol Protectorate which is adult or visa versa like I did. Gail Carriger is an awesome author and I definitely want to see more people reading her books. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!