Only Curtsies & Conspiracies Could Exceed Etiquette & Espionage

Only Curtsies and Conspiracies Could Exceed Etiquette and Espionage

I was thrilled to be one of the lucky reviewers to win a (signed) advance reader copy of Gail Carriger’s Curtsies & Conspiracies from Carriger’s blog contest. I received my copy late in the week but quickly found myself engrossed to the degree of happily finishing it by the same week’s end.

When we rejoin Sophronia at Madmoiselle Geraldine’s (floating) Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, she is sitting her 6 month examination, an affair that leads her to serve cold tea (gasp!), to lament the implications of almond aroma, and to covertly liberate an oddgob of it’s mini-prototype valve of unknown purpose. Everyday activities for a young intelligencer in training. As the lessons advance, so does the intrigue, including, but not limited to kidnapping plots (of which the Plumleigh-Teignmott siblings are reluctantly the subject), love triangles (of which Sophronia is reluctantly a vertex), and the political entanglement of Picklemen, Flywaymen, Vampires, Werewolves, intelligencers, and evil geniuses in training (they all seemed rather enthusiastic to me!). My favorite scene described the fortune telling of each of the main players and its clever use to Sophronia’s own end.

I worry that I will spoil something if I continue to skirt about the plot but one thing I can clearly express is that Curtsies & Conspiracies exceeds the expectations set by Etiquette & Espionage. In C&C, Carriger really hit her stride in this setting and as a result the plot is executed greater efficiency while exuding light-hearted style, the dialogue delivered with greater wit, and the characters filled out as much as their voluminous skirts. The plots in this book are much more extensive than hinted in its predecessor but the clues and plot developments are revealed expertly throughout the narrative. As much as I loved Book the First, I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy Book the Second.

Curtsies & Conspiracies will be published in hardcover November 5, 2013. I highly recommend pre-ordering this book and clearing out the late Autumn weekend to float above the moors with the ladies of Madmoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

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Gail Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage is Technically Perfect– at least for me!

Despite it’s early calendar debut, Gail Carriger’s Finishing School Book the First was hands down my most anticipated book to be released in 2013. I was not the least disappointed. The heroine of Carriger’s first young adult novel, Sophronia Temminnick, is a strong, capable, curious fourteen year-old adventuress who appreciates the practical value of information in a world that would rather keep her in properly lady-like ignorance and indifference. This appreciation is recognized and Sophronia is covertly recruited to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality. Her harried Mother is only partially right when assuming Sophronia will learn the finer arts of curtsy, tea service, and household management. She did not anticipate her daughter’s introduction to deception, poison, assignation, or in an appropriate word, finishing!

I found the setting to exist in complete harmony with her adult series, The Parasol Protectorate, of which I have been a long time fan. I loved the crossover between some characters and am dying to discuss the end of E&E with someone who has read The Parasol Protectorate (Staci? D3Z? Who’s next?!). The classes are mostly described in short exchanges to further the storyline and while this does leave me wanting more, it fits perfectly with Carriger’s characteristic neat and tidy handling of plots which she executes like a perfectly practiced curtsy. This is one of the reasons why I label this book technically perfect. Other reasons include perfect attention to its target audience and genre fans.

What else can I say to sell this book? The adjoining boys school is a school for evil geniuses. There are flyway men, dirigibles, rove vampires and loner werewolves, inventors, intelligencers, and head mistresses who are entirely out of the know. There is mystery, adventure, very light romance, Steampunk, manners, and frivolity. Class barriers, conventions, rules, and promises are all broken. But luckily for hearts that break with the ends of enjoyable novels, we will only have to wait until November to receive the second installment and further details of the training of Sophronia. Check it out and let me know what you think!!!