Waistcoats & Weaponry, by Gail Carriger, was published in 2014 by Little, Brown and Company. It is the sequel to Curtsies & Conspiracies.
Class is back in session. Sophronia continues 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 hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear—her freedom.
In this book, I finally figured out who the Picklemen are, but I can’t really blame my lack of understanding up to this point on Carriger. But replacing my confusion about the Picklemen is my confusion about the prototype/communication device thingy. I don’t understand what it does or why people want it, but I think part of that is supposed to still be a mystery.
Anyway, Waistcoats & Weaponry is yet another delightful installment in the Finishing School series. There’s less distraction and more action in this one, as Sophronia basically hijacks a train with nothing but her friends, her wits, and a bladed fan. As much as I don’t like love triangles, I loved both Soap and Felix as potential love interests, especially since I can actually see either of them as being “endgame” and, perhaps more importantly, I don’t have a preference over one or the other. It does look to be leaning towards Sophronia/Soap, but things get complicated towards the end…
As fun as these books are, I do wish that Carriger would stop bringing Monique back, or give her a different role. She’s no more than a two-bit villain, now, and her presence in this book was annoying. She is “gotten rid of” before the ending, and another person takes her place, but I hope she plays a different role in the fourth book.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
“Sophronia Angelina Temminnick, what are you doing alone in the garden with a boy!”
“Um,” said Sophronia.
Pillover rubbed his elbow.
Mrs. Temminnick turned her wrath on the unfortunate young man. “Mr. Plumleigh-Teignmott, this is too bad! I am shocked, shocked, I say. After we welcomed you into our home last winter! I trust you will make an honest woman of my daughter?”
“Mother! Pillover is only fourteen!”
“Oh ho, Pillover, is it? What have they been teaching you at finishing school? To meet a younger man in the gardens, alone and unchaperoned…”
“Really, Mother! He is a veritable hobbledehoy. Don’t be silly.”
“Oh, thank you for that,” muttered Pillover, utterly dejected.