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.
Flywaymen, Picklemen, and Pistons, oh my! OH, and let's not forget about the Werewolves, Vampires, and some pesky teenaged girls being trained at the elite Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality! Carriger sense of humor and creativity definitely comes into play in the third installment of the Finishing School called Waistcoats & Weaponry.
16-year old Sophronia Temminnick once again finds herself leading the charge when her friend, Sideagh Maccon, receives a mysterious letter that takes her away from school on important Werewolf business. Sophronia, not wanting to let a good mystery go to waist, or an opportunity to use her skills she's learned slip away, sets out with Dimity, Lord Felix Mersey, and Sophronia's sootie best friend, Soap to help her friend. Oh, yes, let's not forget about Bumbersnoot, shall we?
Carriger sure knows how to create unusual names for her characters, while retaining a bit of mystery and suspense to keep me entertained right till the very end. I'm saddened by the apparent loss of 2 of my favorite characters. I know Sophronia's path to becoming an intelligencer has become that much harder now without 2 of her support mechanisms. Hopefully, Carriger will find 2 suitable replacements in Sophronia's war on the Picklemen.
Sophronia's journey is always a fun one to read about. You never know what she's going to do next or how much trouble she's going to cause. From dressing in a costume that raises eyes, to jumping on and stealing a train that's on a secret mission, to taking on Picklemen and Flywaymen intent on capturing said train. Sophronia's life is anything but boring or tedious and her friends are just as strange as she is. Knowing Sophronia as we do, I have no doubt that the Picklemen are in deep trouble.
Sophronia has some serious decisions to make concerning her future, and Waistcoats & Weaponry touches on several of them. Does she stay with Felix, whose father is one of the leaders of the Picklemen? Does she accept Lord Akeldama's patronage, especially since he's been sending her gifts? What about the mysterious Mrs Barnaclegoose who recruited Sophronia and shows up unexpectedly? Will Sophronia choose Patronage or Marriage while becoming the best intelligencer she can be?
I respect Carriger for not being afraid to touch on racial differences and how this particular society treats the subject. I adore Soap. I really do. I think he and Sophronia are brilliant together, and it's obvious that HE gets Sophronia while others think she's a bit queer. I also thank Carriger for not being afraid to open up the subject of racial inequality between those with and without social status.
Next installment: Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) releases November 2015
Author - Gail Carriger
Title - Waistcoats & Weaponry
Series - Finishing School # 3
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: November 4, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk
Format: E-book, 304 pages