Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry
(Finishing School: Book The Third)
Author: Gail Carriger
Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown BFYR
Ratings: 5 Stars
Sophronia continues second year finishing school in style -- with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown. She, best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and charming Lord Felix Mersey stow away on train to return classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspects what or who would be aboard the suspiciously empty train. -Goodreads
After two years of growing Sophronia up enough to have her books tackle some really great plot driving issues. This reviewer is over the moon to report that the time for a truly great Finishing School story has arrived.
With professor Braithwope a little more than slightly off his beam, and trouble afoot in the clan of Kingair.
Sophronia and her band soon find themselves on yet another mayhem filled quest. This time the mission being to see Sidheag safely to Scotland and somehow manage to pop back in at school before they have been missed.
Things are very interesting from the very start with this one. Sophronia has to save herself when a 'not all there' Braithwope literally leaves her hanging, and she is having more than a little trouble navigating the ever-treacherous road of like and more than like...in the boy department. (See triangle of Felix Mersey vs. Soap)
Don't worry though.
Soap, makes a very engaging and controversial leading man this time around. His joining of Sophronia and the gang as they leave the airship, brings about a whole new set of thought provoking issues for himself and his friends.
Because Soap is black and a "sootie", Sopronia along with the reader is taken out of her comfort zone and made to experience the injustices of racism and classism in a much harsher and more habitual fashion.
It is because of her feelings for Soap, and her understanding of what it truly means to walk in his shoes, that we finally see Sophronia do the 'growing up' that has been so long in coming. Giving her the emotional depth that works to transform her into the true heroine that readers come to know and adore by book's end.
As for the adventure, it's in there! This one a all about a train, Picklemen, automatons gone wild, plots, plots, plots, and of course werewolves!
The action found here is first rate, and sure to put your heart in your throat on more than one occasion.
The real gem of this story has to be it's bitter sweet and very dramatic ending. Here is where we say goodbye to some of the more interesting members of the cast, and hello to wondering what magic our beloved Miss Carriger will weave for book 4.
Reviewer's Note: I would be remiss if I did not add that I read and thoroughly enjoyed this book on audio as will as in written form.
Moira Quirk provides a wonderful narration that draws the listener in, and makes one want to hear what comes next.
She truly made the read come alive for me. So much so in fact, that I must admit to preferring the audio version to the written.