18 October 2013

Secret Agents & Evil Geniuses

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger (Little, Brown  Books for Young Readers hardcover, 5 November 2013).

Life at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is never dull, especially not for Miss Sophronia Temminnick.  She's excelling in her studies, but is also doing very well at getting in trouble.

Her nocturnal wanderings around the dirigible help her stay informed about things like who the vampire Professor Braithwope feeds from, and why the school is suddenly heading to London.  But although she doesn't know why some boys from Bunson & Lacroix's Polytechnique (a school for budding evil geniuses) are  joining them on this field trip, she does know that they are extremely annoying (except, perhaps for her best friend Dimity's brother Pillover).

Carriger has a wonderful way with language:  lessons include "tea and delusions"  and "portion allotment, puddings and preemptive poisonings".  Pillover shovels "mutton into his maw as if sheep were soon to be obsolete".

And the names!  "Lord Dingleproops", "Professor Shrimpdittle" and Sophronia's mechanimal pet sausage dog, "Bumbersnoot".

Readers of Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and other aficionados of steampunk fiction who (for some strange reason) may not know of this series aimed at teens will love Sophronia's adventures.  It isn't necessary, though highly recommended that one begin withe the first book in this series, Etiquette & Espionage, where we meet Sophronia and learn how she ends up at Madmoiselle Geraldine's. 

If you haven't already pre-ordered this, what are you waiting for?

FTC Full Disclosure:  Many thanks to Little, Brown and Edelweiss for the e-galley of this book.

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