Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gallagher Girls meets steampunk with a hint of paranormal? Interesting... and surprisingly better than I expected. Of course, not having read the first book means that there was backstory and set-up that I didn't quite understand, like the tethering and the relationships between the Picklemen and the vampires and all.
As with Gallagher Girls, we have a strong heroine taking matters into her own hands. There are plots and intrigues, not to mention sneaking around the dirigible that Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality calls home. At her 6-month exams, Sophronia is awarded the highest marks ever given, leading to a rift between her and her classmates, forcing Our Heroine to become even more self-reliant (ok, and to rely even more on the kindness of the sooties and Vieve). For some reason, the school is floating over to London and taking on passengers from the "boys school", Bunson's - something unheard of before now. The reasons are, of course, sussed out and adventures are had by the end of the book, which also leaves us with a nice, untidy, read-the-next-volume ending.
I'm giving this four stars because it's really 3.5 but I was feeling a bit generous. Why the loss? The point-of-view varies, not always in ways that make sense (perhaps a little more editing would help). And then there's the clear set-up for the love triangle: are you going to be Team Soap or Team Mersey? Bah.
Copy provided by publisher.