Series: Finishing School #2
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on November 5, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Steampunk, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing.
Reviewed by: Julia
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.
As charming and quirky as Gail Carriger's Soulless series, CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES delves back into all the ways that society, science, and magic can collide. Sophronia's perspective on manners and intelligence gathering is a fantastic window into this world, which is as interesting for the social dynamics as for the dirigibles and mechanimals.
From the outside, placing a spy training facility inside a Victorian finishing school would seem like an odd juxtaposition, but even new readers will quickly orient themselves to this mix of familiar historical setting and completely original world building. Sophronoia reads as a genuine teenager (though historical gloss makes her seem older than her 14 years), and her youth is a key element of what makes her compelling as a heroine. The choices that face her are relatable, from budding love to jealous rivals, and each one of these challenges foreshadows larger life issues she will face one day. As a lady intelligencer, Sophronia is learning how to blend with society, but will she also internalize the limitations and boundaries of the peers around her? Will she submerse herself in the cold, calculated, ignore-the-collateral-damage world of intelligence gathering? Or will she find a new path for herself, both professional and empathetic?
While the intricacies of the mystery in CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES kept me glued to the page, it will be that larger question of Sophronia's fate that will keep me coming back for more. Witty, charming, and brimming with potential, I can't wait to see the woman Sophronia is growing into.Series Titles:
- Etiquette & Espionage - 4/5
- Megan Likes Books - 5/5
- YA Between the Lines - 5/5
- Soulless by Gail Carriger - 5/5