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Curtsies & Conspiracies (Hardcover)
Sophronia fought against her parents sending her away to finishing school, now she cannot imagine being anywhere else. Just as her mother imagined, Sophronia is learning how to dance, pour tea and curtsey as any proper lady should. However the other classes offered at the floating school (did I mention the school is located on a dirigible?) are a bit more exotic…poisons, self-defense, information gathering and reconnaissance. Ultimately, her finishing, should she pass all her exams, will turn out a fine polished young spy into society.
The school is all atwitter when a trip to London is announced by the headmistress. Sophronia suspects the reasons for this sudden excursion are far more complicated than meets the eye, since it doesn’t make sense that the school would uproot itself merely to witness a historical event, no matter the supernatural implications. Adding to the excitement is a debut ball, several kidnapping attempts and a flamboyant vampire. Well things are about to get very interesting!
For those of you who have read the five books in the Parasol Protectorate series, this is a very interesting YA series, as they are a prequel to those books. You get to meet Genevieve Lefoux as a precocious ten year old and Lady Sidheag Maccon and begin to understand how she was able to lead a werewolf pack as a human. I found it great fun to meet these characters again and learn more about their origins.
For those of you who have not read anything in this universe before, never fear! While it is set in the same world and has a few carry-over characters, you do not have to have any knowledge of them in order to understand and love this book. Carriger does a great job in setting the reader up for success, without her writing becoming formulaic.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is charming, witty, humorous, adventurous and filled with intrigue. I found that the notion of women out in society (high or otherwise) would make excellent spies during this period, with a bit of training, since ladies’ intelligence was often overlooked, and the school helped them to take full advantage of this flaw in society. I also enjoyed the fact that while there are many strong male characters, Sophronia never relies on them to save the day. Rather she relied on herself and her training to figure out what is afoot and to thwart other people’s machinations.
I would suggest reading Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in the series before you start on this one, as it will give you a firmer grasp the complexities in this installment in the series. I would recommend this book to any female 14 and above, or very open minded males of the same age (but this I think is mainly aimed at the female audience).— Amber
Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?
Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won't Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.
Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.
In this bestselling sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.
About the Author
"New York Times "bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported from London.
The Parasol Protectorate books are: "Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, " and "Timeless." "Soulless" won the ALA's Alex Award. A manga adaptation released in Spring 2012 and a young adult series set in the same universe -- the Finishing School series -- launched in Spring 2013. Gail is soon to begin writing a new adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad (2015).
Praise for Curtsies & Conspiracies:
* "Carriger's second steampunk adventure exceeds the first... the fun, again, is in watching ever-practical Sophronia sneak and scheme her way into sometimes dangerous, sometimes riotously funny, situations.... We repeat: This witty, light-hearted series is not to be missed."
—Booklist (starred review)
* "Teenage and adult fans alike will rejoice that Carriger retains her flair for musical prose, over-the-top names, clever wit, and strange yet helpful mechanical devices of all kinds. Carriger's blend of comically exaggerated characters and madcap action will easily win over readers once again."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "[A] world of manners, steampunk, and the supernatural. [Carriger] again manages to blend the rules of etiquette with inventions and creatures effortlessly, creating a diverse world of wonder."—VOYA (starred review)
"The language is every bit as delightful as in Sophronia's first adventure... even in this weightier tale."—Kirkus Reviews
"[Carriger] jumps right into the thick of the action, developing a fast-paced plot that is sure to keep readers' attention...this is a must-have purchase."—School Library Journal
"The strength, wit, charisma, and sheer likeability of Sophronia is a refreshing and welcome change from the typical protagonist of today's young adult novels...Teenage girls will laugh, cheer, and empathize as the girls at the academy experience all of the same emotions they do, but in a Victorian steampunk fashion."—Library Media Connection
Praise for the New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage:An ALSC Notable Book for ChildrenA YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults PickA Horn Book Summer Reading List Selection
* "Carriger's YA debut brings her mix of Victorian paranormal steampunk and winning heroines to a whole new audience...with cleverly Victorian methods of espionage, witty banter, lighthearted silliness, and a ship full of intriguingly quirky people."—Booklist (starred review)
* "Carriger deploys laugh-out-loud bon mots on nearly every page...Amid all the fun, the author works in commentary on race and class in a sparkling start to the Finishing School series."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
* "[A] delightfully madcap espionage adventure..."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
* "Carriger's leading lady is a strong, independent role model for female readers... Ladies and gentlemen of propriety are combined with dirigibles, robots, werewolves, and vampires, making this story a steampunkmystery and an adventure mash-up that is sure to intrigue readers..." —School Library Journal (starred review)
"Blending intrigue and elements of the school story, Carriger introduces teen readers to a supernatural-meets-steampunk world full of action and wit."—Horn Book
"If spunky Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey happened onto a steampunk set, she might look a lot like Sophronia Angelina Temminnick."—ShelfAwareness