Gail Carriger – Manners & Mutiny
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy
Started: 18 January 2016
Finished: 22 January 2016
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Gotta finish the series!
lessons gets harder when bad
guys attack your school.
Summary: Sophronia is entering her final year at Madamoiselle’s Geraldine’s floating finishing school. But amid lessons on poisons, codes, flirting, and other essential espionage skills, Sophronia finds herself less interested in class. Much more on her mind is Soap, a former school sootie turned werewolf, who Sophronia is attracted to despite the many social conventions that should keep them apart. And of course there’s always the Picklemen, a group of anti-supernatural agents Sophronia thinks are clearly plotting something, if only she could figure out what… or get anyone else to take her concerns seriously.
Review: I enjoyed this book, as I’ve enjoyed the whole series, and all of Carriger’s other books, but it didn’t stand out quite as much as I was hoping, and ultimately didn’t leave much of a lasting impression on me. It moves along at a good clip, Lord Akeldama is a delight as always when he shows up, and the action of Sophronia saving the school from the Picklemen is quite good. But I felt like this book maybe wasn’t quite as funny – or as witty – as some of Carriger’s other work. Part of this is that Sophronia is by herself a fair bit, and while I like her fine as a character, she’s not as interesting to me on her own as she is when she’s working more directly with her friends (also, I never felt particularly interested in the romance angle of these series the way I have been in others). Part of it is also that I love the boarding school aspect of this series, so in this book, when Sophronia becomes kind of disaffected with schoolwork, I feel like a little bit of the charm of the book leaches away. But it’s still a fun read, and it wraps up the various threads that have been carried throughout the series quite nicely. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: If YA historical fantasy, steampunk, boarding school stories are your cup of tea, (or if you liked the Parasol Protectorate books and want more of that world), then the Finishing School series is likely to be right up your alley. Definitely start at the beginning… although I think the series would actually be better read back-to-back, rather than with the one-year-between-each-book gaps that I did.
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First Line: “A ball, at last!”
Vocab: (see the whole list)
- p. 5: “Dimity had tried every remedy for bust improvement that Mademoiselle Geraldine suggested, from massage with a tincture of myrrh, pimpernel, elder-flower, and rectified spirits, to preparations of nux vomica mixed with Madeira, to a diet composed mainly of comforting, breast-pampering foodstuffs.” – A tree native to South and Southeast Asia, having poisonous seeds that are a source of the alkaloids strychnine and brucine.
- p. 6: “Dimity did not find the diet challenging, as it emphasized pastry, milk, potatoes, and similarly farinaceous foods.” – Made from, rich in, or consisting of starch.
- p. 50: “She was doing a special study on tussie-mussies and airborne poisons, creating stunning – in all ways – nosegays.” – A small bouquet of flowers; a nosegay.
- p. 82: ““So? It is Lord Mersey after all?” “Felix? Don’t speak gammon.”” – Misleading or nonsensical talk; humbug.
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