Review: ‘Curtsies & Conspiracies’ by Gail Carriger

Finishing School series book 2

2013
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http://gailcarriger.com/books/finishing-school-series

Sophronia Temminick is back for a second adventure. She’s been at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality for six months, and they have certainly been eventful. But just when life is getting back to normal, or as normal as life gets when you’re at a finishing school housed in a giant airship and learning to ‘finish’ everything, Sophronia and her best friend Dimity are pulled out if class to undergo their first test. Failure will result in being sent down, but as Sophronia discovers being the best will get you ostracized by the rest of the class.

Sophronia has more pressing matters to attend to though. Namely discovering the purpose of the valve prototype she found during her test, working out who is feeding the school’s resident vampire and preventing Dimity’s kidnapping. When the teachers announce the school is leaving Dartmoor for London, and will be taking a group of students from Bunsen’s (a school for evil geniuses, home to Dimity’s brother Pillover, and Felix Mersey, a young man Sophronia snubbed at a ball) with them, Sophronia becomes more worried. What have the Picklemen, the Westminster Hive and the prototype valve to do with this unexpected journey?

It’s good to be back in the world of the Parasol Protectorate, though these novels are set 25 years before Alexia’s adventures. We see a young Genevieve LeFoux, and her aunt; Lord Akaldama has a brief appearance along with his band of fops and it seems that he’ll be a part of the next two novels in the series.

I enjoyed this novel; the characters are beginning to become more rounded, it’s good to see more of their backgrounds. Sophronia is intelligent and witty. The plot is fast-paced and fun. There’s no gaping plotholes or inconsistencies. Can’t wait for the third novel out later this year.

4/5

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