I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. This is the third book in the Finishing School series by Carriger. There will be one more book in this series titled, Manners and Mutiny, which is supposed to release in November of 2015. This was another wonderful book in this series full of adventure and steampunk elements.
Sophronia is in her second year at the finishing/espionage school for girls. One of Sophronias close friends, Sidheag, gets awful news about the werewolf pack she is part of on Scotland. Sophronia and her friends (Dimitry, Lord Felix Mersey, and the Sootie Soap) hijack a train to get Sidheag home. However they never expected the train they hijaked to be carrying goods that could throw all of London into chaos.
This is a highly entertaining and action packed YA steampunk read. I really love the characters, the steampunk devices and action throughout. There is a lot of humor in here too, which makes it a very fun read!
Sophronia is still getting into loads of trouble, although she is learning that having friends to help her out is a good thing. She also spends quite a bit of time contemplating what to do with her future. She has an offer to work for Lord Akeldama after graduation, the Queen would also like to have Sophronia in service, then of course there is the handsome Lord Felix whose company she enjoys. I continue to really enjoy Sophronia, she is plucky, energetic, and fun to read about.
There is a lot more drama and romance in this book than in previous books. Sophronia spends a lot of time with both Felix and Soap; both are trying to woo her and she is in a tough spot having to spend time with them both.
There is also a ton of action. There are many hijinks that take place on the train they commander. It was all very fast-paced a fun to read about. The broader story-arc about the Picklemen and their transmitters is also woven into this story. Additionally there is the contained storyline about Sidheag and her werewolf pack that is fairly well resolved.
Overall this was a very entertaining and fun steampunk read. The characters are well done and entertaining, there are interesting steampunk devices, and there is a ton of action. The story is fast-paced and hard to put down. This book does have more romance than previous books, with a love triangle between Sophronia, Felix, and Soap. I think fans of humorous steampunk reads will really enjoy this series.
This third installment of this series, while still filled with steampunk goodness and badass characters, was not as engrossing or fun for me as the first two books. Half the fun of these books lies in the over-the-top lessons and the weird goings-on at Mademoiselle Geraldine's. Because this book mostly took place outside the school, many of the loveable and quirky characters weve come to know and love are not present.
The plot in this third book also felt overall slower and less complex. The first two books build on the plot and twist frequently, whereas this book focused more on developing relationships between the characters. This would have been fine, except it mostly involved a lot of love-triangle-ness for Saphronia. I am not opposed to love triangles as a firm rule, but if they are present they need to feel real and necessary. In the case of Saphronia's love dilemma, the choices she has to make seem to be so obvious every single time, and one of her love interests is so unbelievably frustrating. This makes me hate this particular love triangle.
I love world building in books like this, and we do learn significantly more about the werewolves in Saphronia's world. Unfortunately, the way the information is presented doesnt flow nearly as easily as the vampire tidbits we get in book two of this series. This is mostly due to the fact that the events surrounding the werewolf community are relayed second- or third-hand and not (for the most part) experienced real-time by the characters.
I hope the next book in the series continues to build upon the characters and setting discussed in the first three books, with a greater emphasis on showing and not just telling about the world around Saphronia. I would recommend this series to fans of steampunk, alternative historical fiction, vampires, and werewolves.