This is the second book in the steampunk YA Finishing School series by Carriger. There are two more books planned in this series: Waistcoats and Weaponry out in 2014 and Manners and Mutiny out in 2015. This was a very fun read and I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed Carrigers adult series, The Parasole Protectorate.
Sophronia has had an eventful first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality; the finishing school that is training her to be a spy. They are facing their final exams and yet more conspiracies when an unexpected event occurs. News arrives that they are going to travel to London and some of the Boys from the boys school will be on board their dirigible with them for the trip. Of course everything is more complicated than it seems and Sophronia gets involved in a conspiracy involving a stolen device that has her sneaking into the boiler room and spying in hallways.
These are very fun reads that have both paranormal and steampunk elements in them. They are full of humor, fun devices, conspiracy, and general shenanigans.
Sophronia finds herself scorned for her excellent exam score in this book. In the midst of her loneliness she finds consolation in hanging out with her friends in the boiler room. There she befriends the industrious boy named Soap and continues her friendship with the mischievous inventress Vieve. Sophronia grows a lot as a character and starts to learn the value of having friends to aid her in her endeavors. Sophronia is still daring and mischievous, but I feel like she had grown up a little more in this book.
There are some wonderful additions to the story and some of them are characters from the Parasol Protectorate series. For example Lord Akeldama is in this book, as is the Hive Queen of London. It was fun to see the boarding school characters outside of the comfort of their Dirigible and wandering around London proper.
The story is really starting to expand in this book, as Sophornia starts to see what her life outside of the Finishing Academy might be. The characters are getting involved in conspiracies and ventures that involve the larger world outside of their Finishing School. Although, dont get me wrong, there is still plenty of ballroom drama and lessons on the best ways to poison houseguests.
The book stops in a wonderful spot, but also opens up new storylines that have me dying to read the next book. There are a ton of wonderful steampunk elements in this book. There are dirigibles, aether, and loads of marvelous contraptions.
Overall this was an incredibly fun read! I really have been enjoying this young adult steampunk series. Sophronia is maturing and developing into quite the daring and admirable young woman. I enjoy the world, the devices, and the conspiracies throughout. The writing style is very tongue in cheek and quite amusing. I cant wait to see what adventures Sophronia is going to go on in future books. Tons of fun. Highly recommended to all young adult and steampunk fans out there.