Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry

Waistcoats & Weaponry, Gail Carriger (Finishing School #3)


Hardcover, 304 pages

Published November 4th 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Source: E-ARC from NetGalley


From Goodreads…

Class is back in session…

Sophronia continues her second year at 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 stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

I’ll admit that I am still not positive I understand steampunk as a genre, but I am sure I’m enjoying this series.  As I tried to figure out what drives the steampunk culture I found Gail Carriger’s website which has a lot of information in general and from the author’s perspective.  I reviewed books 1 and 2 of the Finishing School series here and I quickly dove into the third.  Sophronia is now 16 and thinking seriously about life when she is “finished.”  Will she work for the Queen?  Perhaps one of the vampire hives out of London if she can do so without giving blood?  Or will she have to find a sponsor to keep her in in weapons and intrigue?  Will she marry?

After reading books 1 & 2, I was looking forward to a new plot path in Waistcoats & Weaponry. I wanted some action that wasn’t those silly Picklemen!  The Pickleman thus far have been the villians of Sophronia’s tale.  These men are pro-machinery with things like mechanimals and more flying airships, and don’t want to involve themselves with the supernaturals.  So far Sophronia finds vampires and werewolves quite pleasant, but does not want to pick a side.

Things certainly changed when the girls found an empty train and climbed aboard to help a friend find her way home- no damsels waiting to be rescued in this series! Sophronia has grown up quite a bit but her quick wit and sense of adventure is the same. Also, her new weapon of choice is a bladed fan-how can you not love a girl that wants to protect herself with that?

As for the romance, I enjoyed Sophronia’s comparing her love interests without this becoming a love triangle. The questions of marriage bothered me a bit in Curtsies and Conspiracies, but they seemed much more appropriate in here.  Yes, Sophronia and her friends are 16, but that was not inappropriate for the Victorian period I don’t think.  I am really interested to see where her heart leads her in #4, Manners and Mutiny, because the ending here really shocked me!

This was a strong follow-up to Curtsies and Conspiracies and a fun read on its own.  My only complaint is that it could have been longer! I’m still curious about the werewolf packs and how they’d fit into the rest of Society.  Bring on Book 4!

4 stars!

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

On a last note our giveaway is still open! Details and signup here.


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