Manners & Mutiny, by Gail Carriger, was published in 2015 by Little, Brown and Company. It is the sequel to Waistcoats & Weaponry.
Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the every-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in a decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.
Manners & Mutiny is a mostly satisfying conclusion to the Finishing School series, with enough new things and surprises to content and satisfy those, such as myself, who became slightly tired out after the third book. To my pleasure, though Monique (sigh) once again returns, she does have a different role to play, and it makes her seem much less bratty two-bit villain and much more fleshed out as a character.
The intrigue and hijinks of the novel were very well done, and the last third of the novel is the best part of the book, engaging the reader right when they’re starting to feel the tediousness of the pace a bit and ensuring that the end of the book is suspenseful, gripping, and a satisfying conclusion.
The part I least enjoyed, though it was meant to be the most satisfying, was the resolution of Sophronia’s romance plot. I do like her and Soap together, but there were a few things that made me a little exasperated. It was a very obvious resolution and Sophronia and Soap said and did all the things that I expected characters like them to do, and it drove home, at the end of the a very fun book, how formulaic the romance was. Which is a pity, because Manners & Mutiny is not at all a trope-y, formulaic book at all, nor is the series one. So, in terms of enjoyment, plot details, and overall originality, the Finishing School series is top-notch. But in terms of originality of romance…well, it’s not that great.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Young Adult
“Professor Braithwope, have you seen anything interesting dancing ‘round the school recently?”
“Condiments are scarce in the skies, whot.” The vampire was serious on this subject.
“Not so much as you would think,” Sophronia contradicted, wondering if he was aware enough to actually be referring to the Picklemen break-in. “Lost your mustard powder, have you?” She loaded in a bolt, taking her time.
“No, relish.” The vampire twirled away. Preshea’s shot went wide.
“Thought as much,” said Sophronia.