Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Gail Carriger)

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)
Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry
Series: Finishing School, Book the Third
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Initial Edition Read: Atom Books)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
GenreYoung Adult Alternate Historical Paranormal Steampunk
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, seduction, sensual conversation, men in states of undress)
Format Read: Atom Paperback (author), Paperback (purchased)
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Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

*          *          *

This is the third book in the four-book Finishing School series. 
See titles for links to my reviews of Book the First, Etiquette & Espionage
and Book the Second, Curtsies & Conspiracies.

In a Sentence: Sophronia and team become embroiled in another grand adventure with even grander consequences, romance, and thrills that I was delighted to read - twice!

Three Words: Fun. Flirty. Fantastic.

As always with Gail Carriger's books, two reads were required to produce this review. I tend to enjoy the first read so much that I am incapable of putting my enjoyment into words, and have to wait and read the book again to produce any sort of objective review. As also per usual I enjoyed the second read even more than the first, and now await the final installment in the Finishing School series with great anticipation and excitement!

Miss Gail's stories are a pure joy to read, her writing witty and fun and delightfully British (especially since I read the British edition the first time). She is a mistress of description but also especially of dialogue and had me in stitches on many occasions. One of my innumerable favorite bits:
...Pillover pulled up, panting. ‘Oh, Sophronia, thank goodness. Save me? Please? All those young girls, in pastels, talking about the weather. I shall go and jump off a bridge, I swear I shall. Do you have bridges in Wiltshire? They chatter, they chatter worse than Dimity ever did. Oh, the chattering! The chattering, it haunts me.’
Main character Sophronia continues to gain confidence and thrive as an intelligencer-in-training, but the more powerful she becomes, the greater the risk - and the graver the consequences. In this book, Sophronia and team end up on a grand adventure traipsing about the countryside in less than conventional attire via several modes of transportation obtained by less than conventional methods. They of course become entangled ever deeper in the escalating Picklemen-Supernatural conflict, and after much internal and external struggle Sophronia finally takes a side - and a patron! The story was a mad dash with lots of close calls and deadly encounters that made for a quick and thrilling read, and all the players were transformed in some manner by the end - a few in rather drastic ways - which shall see that nothing will be the same in the final book.

On the romantic front, Soap and Felix returned to vie for Sophronia's affections, and Pillover finally (albeit accidentally and to his chagrin) threw his hat in the ring. While I will always root for Soap over Felix (I never thought Felix particularly suitable), I've really been Team Pillover from Book 1, Page 1 (or, more precisely, Page 18) and believe he would make the perfect husband figurehead for dear Sophronia and her schemes. But despite the romantic headway made by any of the boys in this book, who Sophronia will end up with in the final chapter is still with Professor Braithwope (that is to say, up in the air, whot? ;).

Conclusion: Yet another thoroughly entertaining read from Miss Gail! Delightful writing, thrilling story, and with the exciting twists at the end I'm anxious to get my hands on the final installment in the series, Manners & Mutiny, out November 3, 2015!

For Fans Of: alternate histories, steampunk, tea

5 of 5 Scribbles

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