January 8, 2014

Review of Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger


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 school 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 sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger’s YA debut 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.

add to goodreadsCurtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
by Gail Carriger
Publication Date:  November 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Available for Purchase:

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013When I first read Etiquette & Espionage I remember having a fun, laugh out loud time reading about a steampunk school for lady spies taught by spies, inventors and a vampire with a crazy moustache. It was a fun read and while it was a very lighthearted and far from overly-serious read—I was still eager to get reading the sequel Curtsies & Conspiracies. Curtsies & Conspiracies was everything I expected it to be: Just like the novel that came before it but better. Way better.

               In Curtsies & Conspiracies, Sophronia continues her studies at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. What Sophronia doesn’t expect from the school is to discover that her grades are the highest ever for a first year student and for her friends and the people closest to her to shun her entirely for it. Dealing with being ostracized by her peers, Sophronia finds herself growing closer to the Sooties and Vieve.

               However when the students learn that they’ll be having a trip to London, boys board Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies to accompany the girls. Lord Mersey—or Felix—makes a reappearance into Sophronia’s life (a.k.a. the guy who danced with her that one time and never even gave her his name). He’s cocky, infuriating and circumstance brings him and Sophronia closer and closer together.

               With all the excitement going around the school the absolute last thing anybody expects is for a sudden rise in conspiracies. Somebody is trying to kidnap Dimity, supernaturals and humans alike are both going to suffer the consequences.  It’s up to Sophronia to use what she’s learned at the school to find out who is behind the evil plot before things go from bad to worse.

               Curtsies and Conspiracies was exciting at the start. Sophronia was dealing with her friends ignoring her, leaving her to have to deal with that challenge. Soon she’s dealing with boys, poisons, tests and learning how to run from assailants. The way that the plot plays out within the first half of the novel is both fun and serious, just like in Etiquette & Espionage. However I did find that as the novel progressed the plot would thicken but my attention would begin to waver as things would begin to grow boring and flat at times.

               I did like the character development in Curtsies & Conspiracies, a lot of the characters begin to change and there are still many more that get introduced into the cast. I was actually very pleased with the consistency between characters and how I wasn’t overwhelmed with the large amount of them being put into the novel. Readers who want a novel that can even out its use of characters per chapter and still keep them relevant and likeable are going to love this series.

               The new twist in Curtsies & Conspiracies is that there is something going on in the school. Something involving Monique, supernaturals and humans. Something that seriously comes as a total surprise once it comes to light. Conspiracies are in this novel and Sophronia really gets to show off her set of skills and training from the academy. Still, I do wish that there was some more time spent to get to learn a little bit more about the conspiracy at hand and maybe more foreshadowing.

               My only real problem with Curtsies & Conspiracies was that it became one of those novels where the conclusion felt very far away. I would be at fifty pages left waiting for everything to come together, reach like page twenty-five and still be freaking out because there were still loose ends that weren’t tied up. All that I was left with to tie things up as an epilogue when I do think that there could have been a bit more to read and experience in the novel.

               I would recommend the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger to readers who are big fans of steampunk, want a light-hearted read and to anybody who has a soft spot for spy-fiction or comedy.



Ms. Carriger writes steampunk urbane fantasy comedies of manners 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. She then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. Her Parasol Protectorate books are all New York Times Bestsellers.
It is not her policy to conduct business over Goodreads. Please visit Gail’s website and drop her a calling card if you have a request.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads




  1. Chrissy

    Great review. I’ve been looking at this series, and I want to read it. It isn’t often that the second book is as good or better than the first in a series. This makes me want to read it even more.

  2. Megan

    I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. I found there was a lot going on in this one and it could be a touch hard to keep track of everything, but these books are still just so much fun!

  3. Kris

    I’m glad to hear that the characters are kept relevant in the story and that they’re well developed. Characters are so important to me in a book! I am disappointed though that the plot ends aren’t tied up as well as they could have been. I hate when a book keeps us waiting until the last minute and doesn’t properly wrap things up. It does sound like it’s a solid sequel overall. I look forward to reading it!

  4. I loved the first book in this series, so I’m glad to hear this one is even better. I can’t quite tell from your review whether there are more books to come — I certainly hope so! I’m eager to read this but will have to wait for it to show up at the library (my book budget is small this year.)

  5. […] Chapter by Chapter says, […]

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