Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
by Gail Carriger
Recommended for: Fans of Carriger; Anglophiles; Fans of Steampunk and/or Victorian England
Read from November 23 to December 09, 2014
Gail Carriger is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors - if she writes it, I will read it. She has such a unique style that clearly depicts her complete love of this Victorian, Steampunk, anglophilic world. (Find Ms. Carriger's personal blog here)
Curtsies & Conspiracies was another fun romp with Sophronia and entourage through Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for Girls of Qualit-tay. But I think I enjoyed this installment even more than the first one for a number of reasons:
1. I was already fully enthralled by the world Ms. Carriger created in Book 1, Etiquette & Espionage. I could visualize the dirigible, the characters, the teachers much easier this time around because it was like getting together with old friends. And even though there were some references to which I was ignorant, I was still able to figure them out through the context, and I felt as if I was learning so many interesting facts about the time period: fun and educational - Can't be beat!
2. There were loads of action that kept me intrigued and the pages flipping. There was mystery, intrigue, deception, and fight scenes, and I enjoyed them all. And even though I am not a big fan of love triangles, the Sophronia, Soap, Felix triangle was interesting because it was underscored by societal expectations and prejudices. I am interested to see where it goes.
3. I am enamored with Ms. Carriger's tongue-in-cheek humor! This is my most favorite part of Ms. Carriger's writing, even more so than the historical accuracy, which is my second most favorite part. I challenge any reader out there to read one of Ms. Carriger's books completely straight-faced - it's impossible! You can't help but giggle/chuckle to yourself at the audacity of some of her character's quirks and classic quips. It's just hilarious to have a character who is on the verge of death yet also feels the need to also maintain proper etiquette - it makes me smile every time. I can just imagine Ms. Carriger standing at her desk, typing these books, and giggling out loud to herself - they are so much fun!
4. But even with all of these things, this second installment was more intriguing because I could begin to recognize when Ms. Carriger was weaving in clues of how this series would connect to the Parasol Protectorate series. Now, I have yet to read the series, as I am waiting to finish this prequel series first; however, I have read the summaries of the Parasol Protectorate series, followed Ms. Carriger's blog, and discussed them with friends enough to know some of the basic facts about that series, and even with my limited knowledge, I can still catch possible references that connect these Finishing School characters to those of the Parasol Protectorate series. I don't want to give away too many, but I did notice the following
a. Sophronia is described a few times in this second installment as being heartless and without a soul, which I imagine might somehow lead to a future Soulless character.
b. Genevieve Lefoux is described in this second installment to have an absolute obsession with proper women's fashion, especially with lady's hats, and Ms. Carriger is always posting pictures of Ivy's Hat Bombs from the Parasol Protectorate series, so I am guessing there must be some connection.
c. Lord Akeldama is introduced in this book - that's all I'm going to say about that, not to give too much away.
d. And like in the first book, Sidheag Maccon is always around, and I know that in the Parasol Protectorate series, Alexia ends up having some serious involvement with the Maccon clan, so I'm interested to figure out that connection.
All in all, I very much enjoyed my time reading this second installment, and I began reading the third installment,Waistcoats &Weaponry, the minute I finished this one. I look forward to finishing this series when the fourth book, Manners & Mutiny, comes out November 2015. Then I plan to read the Parasol Protectorate Series, before diving headlong into her newest series, The Custard Protocol, which is about Alexia's daughter!
I love that Ms. Carriger is creating an entire genealogy in this fascinating, Victorian world. She has earned a reader-for-life in me :)
I highly recommend all of her series to anyone out there who, as I do, suffers from an undying love of all things anglophilic, Steampunk, and/or Victorian.