I’m pretty sure that Gail Carriger is in on a conspiracy to make me want all of her books. My favorite new series of 2013 was her Finishing School series, hands down! You can read my review of book one, Etiquette & Espionage here. I may have done more gushing that I should have but if you’ve read it then you’ll understand!
Because of this love for the first book, I was incredibly excited when the awesome people at Hachette Audio offered the audiobook of Carriger’s second book, Curtsies & Conspiracies for review I had to take them up on their offer! (Thank you!)
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.
Guys. Seriously. THAT COVER!
I’ve said it before. It’s like Carriger has a secret window into my little book lovers’ heart and knows exactly what I want to read about. Her opulent steampunk world is exactly where I want to spend my afternoons and evenings. This setting is just so well-imagined and there is so much depth yet to be explored that it reminds me a lot of the wizarding world that J.K. Rowling creates in the Harry Potter series. It’s richness promises more books, which makes me incredibly giddy just thinking about it!
Curtsies and Conspiracies picks up at the start of Sophronia’s second semester at Madame Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality with the girls’ sixth month review underway. While the first book is full of nothing but fun, this second book starts to bring a little more seriousness with it. For example, Sophronia’s group of friends are all fighting and a spectacular weekend in London is dulled by threat of a dangerous evil plot. Even the lessons the lessons the students’ are learning begin to take a turn for the dark. This step towards the serious actually reminds me a lot of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series (which I ALSO LOVE!) because Sophronia’s world is beginning to open up and the stakes are getting higher. Don’t think that Carriger’s signature wit and humor are missing in all this newly found seriousness, however, because they are still there!
We have the beginnings of a serious love triangle here, ladies! I don’t mind a bit of a triangle so it makes me happy to see Sophronia struggle with her growing feelings toward two boys; one of which would be socially uplifting and the other which may be frowned upon for numerous reasons. I do think both boys are not exactly as they seem however…there are hints of things to come hidden in their actions and words!
Not only are these potential love interests well written and interesting, but Carriger’s cast of supporting characters are just as captivating as they were in book one. My favorites are Sophronia’s friends, of course. Dimity, Sidheag and Agatha are so warm, loving, and fun that I want them to be real so I could hang out with them! I love how each one of them brings something different to the table and the way in which they all challenge one another to step out of comfort zones. They’re exactly the type of friends I’d want if I were a boarding student in a flying dirigible spy school for young ladies.
All in all, Curtsies and Conspiracies was on my favorites of 2013 list for a reason. If you haven’t already given the Finishing School series a chance, then make sure you do! You won’t be disappointed I promise! I also highly recommend this series on audio; it is hands down a fabulous listen!
Also…have you seen this book trailer?! I don’t know how I missed it until now, but I think it is absolutely brilliant!
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Hachette Audio (Little, Brown) (November 5, 2013)
Length: 9 hours and 30 minutes
Narrator(s): Moira Quirk
Series: Second in the Finishing School series
Buy the Book: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School)