Waistcoats & Weaponry
Book 3, Finishing School
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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 hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear--her freedom.
Gather your poison, your 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.
brightness and joy in the story and the action has returned, with plenty of imagery
A fun series wraps up with the final installment from Gail Carriger. In earlier reviews I have mentioned the wordplay, the clever insets of characters from all walks of life: robots, vampires, werewolves, and the never-ending action that keeps you on your toes. This book brings all of that and more: Sophronia and her raggle-taggle group of fellow student and friends are embroiled in even MORE action and adventure, and the consequences are greater. And the girls, in their final year of finishing school have mastered the arts of gracious living as well as the additional skills of detection, spying, fighting and extricating themselves from sticky situations.
In the last book, I felt that the plot was a bit lost and more focus was to humor and strange point of view changes that I found jarring. Too much tell and not enough show, and long passages of narration took some getting used to and the brightness of the story dimmed somewhat. I found the story felt ‘geared’ to a younger reader, rather than carrying forward the intelligent and solid storytelling in the first book. I am thrilled to say that the brightness and joy in the story and the action has returned, with plenty of imagery and solidification of characters bringing the unique tone and flavor back again.
There are two major subplots here: Sidheag pairing with the Werewolves of Scotland and the Transmitter / Pickleman plot. By far in a way, the gang hijacking a train to accompany Sidheag as she joins the pack to sort out the hierarchy in the werewolf society. Of course – these things never go as smoothly as planned, and we have more hijinks and political intrigue to worry about.
There is still the Pickleman issue, and we have the added fun of stolen airships, a ball, a tussle with Sophronia and Monique and a few other tidbits that just bring more fun to the story. Teachers are as wild and hoydenish as the girls in this story – and it adds a level of humor and sparkle to a story that is already shining.
Yes, there is romance in among the adventure: Sophronia is taking a closer look at her relationship with Soap and with Felix Mercy, and she is trying to sort out just WHAT she thinks and feels for them both. Neither, at this point, is a particularly compelling match; both having their own issues with arrogance, deceit, and honesty. Finally Sidheag starts a tentative journey to her own romance with werewolf Niall, and the development of the characters in every element of the story is solidifying and presenting a solid picture.
Planned as a three part story (I do believe) this book is full of adventure and fun, and there is still room to grow and add more adventures. In fact, there is a feel that more could still come – and I certainly do hope this is not the end of the Finishing School stories.
I received an eBook copy of the title from NetGalley from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
- Level: Grades 7-17
- Category: Action & Adventure
- Published: Nov 04, 2014
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
- Print Length: 304 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 3, Finishing School