Class is back in session...
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.
Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger burst onto the fantasy scene a few years ago with her Parasol Protectorate series, a fantastic historical urban fantasy, full of great characters, humourous dialogue and exciting action scenes. A kind-of-prequel - set earlier than the first series though initially seemingly without any of the same characters - the Finishing School Series continues in the steampunk vein of the first series, adding the setting of a floating espionage school masquerading as a finishing school. While the first book did not blow me away, I enjoyed it enough to carry on. The series has got steadily better and this, the third book, is fantastic.
Following Sophronia and her friends once again, Waistcoats and Weaponry sees major changes in the status quo, as werewolves plot rebellion and vampires strike at mechanicals. Forced to take possession of a runaway train, Sophronia and her friends go up once again against the Picklemen. There are major changes in store before the book reaches its end, all of which Carriger handles with her usual humour. Her writing continues to be a delight, full of wit and funny turns of phrase, and Sophronia really grows as a character, willing to go once more against the prevailing societal pressures of her time. Her relationship with Soap is especially well handled here
Setting up the final book in the series nicely, Waistcoats and Weaponry finally begins to bring the Finishing School Series up to the same level as the Parasol Protectorate.
I gave Waistcoats and Weaponry 4 stars.