Thursday, December 5, 2013

Becky's View: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
♦publisher: Little, Brown
♦release date: November 5th, 2013
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Finishing School, book 2
  review of book 1, Etiquette & Espionage
♦source: from trade
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.

Review: It’s so easy to fall back into Gail Carriger’s cool steampunk world of espionage and tea time, mechanimals and fancy ball gowns.  In Curtsies and Conspiracies, Sophronia is knee deep into all the intrigue again, sneaking around their floating airship finishing school, deftly using her training as an intelligencer to discover the purpose of a mysterious gadget, what it has to do with the groundbreaking airship flight into the aethersphere, and why someone would be trying to kidnap her best friends, Dimity and Pillover. 

This series is just a joy to read. Carriger infuses her storytelling and her characters with such great humor and gusto.  Each one is memorable, every single one, including most of the teachers.  Even with almost a year between this book and the last, the characters still felt familiar like old friends.  Not only that, but each book has it’s own story arc, so I think someone coming into the series at book two would catch on easily enough to really enjoy it on its own .

There are some new faces this time around, my favorite being Felix, a slightly goth but utterly charming and funny boy.  All the characters are definitely a bit more grown up this year---Sophronia is 15 now---and her sweet friendship with Soap is evolving in adorable and awkward ways. With him, she faces the age old dilemma of not wanting to lose a great friendship by letting it grow into something else.   With the appearance of Felix, there is a little bit of a triangle forming, so we’ll see where that goes!  Vieve, just as much of a firecracker as ever, is actually a big part of the story this time around, as her and Sophronia strike a deal to finagle her way into the boy’s school for evil geniuses.  This leads to plenty of madcap adventure and espionage.  

Lots going on in this one---and I loved the chaotic and humorous climax scene, it definitely made me think of an old silent movie.  With all the gowns and gadgets and manners and creatures; this whole steampunk world is so fully imagined and visual.  If there is one series that I would love to see brought to life in a movie, even just for the imagery alone, this is it.   It would be gorgeous! 

Two more books are still to come in this series. Waistcoats and Weaponry and Manners and Mutiny.  These will both definitely be on my must –read list in 2014 and 2015!

Find Gail Carriger online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Etiquette & Espionage:  Amazon  •  •  Indiebound 

Trailer of awesome!


  1. This sounds fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the sequel so much! Espionage and tea time - this just sounds AMAZING :) Thank you for your wonderful review. I am yet to get started on this series, but I won't lie - I'm dying to, after your review!

    Evie @Bookish

  3. I absolutely can't wait to read this book, and I'm super excited to read the rest of them too! :D

  4. Thanks for the review! Looking forward to this second book.

  5. The trailer is a bit different, but you're right, it's full of awesome too! :D Thanks for writing an awesome review! I haven't really heard about this series before this year. I also haven't read a steampunk novel so when I do, I think this series would be the one. Sounds intriguing enough to put on my TBR list ^_^

  6. Intresting,very interesting! :)
    Great review! :)

  7. As a fan of the Parasol Protectorate series, I was super excited for this series and I've heard we get more of that world this time around! I enjoyed book one and am glad book two has been getting good reviews!!

  8. I can't wait to see where this series goes as the characters get older.