Trainwreck (52 Weeks of Books Week Twenty-Seven)

Bladed fans and dirigibles and werewolves and trains and Picklemen… just another week for Sophronia Temminnick at Finishing School. Or week 27 of the 52 Weeks of Books Challenge.

 Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3)
Gail Carriger, 2014, Little, Brown and Company

Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third of four installments in Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, which itself is a prequel to Carriger's popular Parasol Protectorate series. The series follows Sophronia Temminnick through her adventures and training at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality - a finishing and spy training school wrapped in one. In her third year, Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, and two young men from different stations with the same level of interest in her hijack a train to get their friend Sidheag home to Scotland. Along their way, they stumble into a dastardly plot that could affect the whole of London if it is allowed to continue.

Why I Read It:
The last of the borrowed books, hooray! This one was not so much passed on to me as I asked to borrow it because I wanted to read the third book in the series before I read the last one. Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) was a lovely birthday present last year, but has not been read yet and is currently sitting in my stack of books to read between now and the end of the year.

I'd never read anything out of the steampunk genre before I plucked Gail Carriger's Soulless off of my younger sister's bookshelf a few years ago. It was a dark time where I was buying novels that interested me in the store, only to leave them languishing on my bookshelves because they lost appeal by the time I got them home. In reading it, I fell in love with the humor Carriger brought to a world of vampires, werewolves, and other-natural beings. The steampunk elements made the story a joy, and Alexia, the main character in that series, is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. Any visit to the Parasol Protectorate world makes me happy.

Waistcoats & Weaponry was, therefore, a thoroughly enjoyable return. I almost wish Sophronia Temminnick was my best friend - the girl is smart, quick on her feet, and her loyalty to her friends through thick and thin (even when she thinks they're doing the wrong thing) runs deep. While she hasn't taken a seat next to Alexia as an all-time favorite, I will pick up a book Sophronia is in.

One of the elements I could have done without was the Sophronia/Lord Mersey/Soap love triangle that was brewing in Curtsies & Conspiracies and came into full fruition here. It was good for a few laugh out loud moments as well as moving some parts of the story forward, but the young adult series love triangle is becoming overdone for me in general (I think I talked about that in my review of the third book in the Matched series, which you can read here and see if I am remembering correctly).

Speaking of Soap, though… oh, Soap. I feel like Soap, the loveable sootie from Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy and Biffy, Lord Akeldama's beloved drone in the Parasol Protectorate series, should sit down for a talk or start a club. They both hold the distinction of having been turned into werewolves in order to keep them alive. I'm sure they would have a bit to talk about, although we find out in Waistcoats & Weaponry that Soap actually wanted it before he nearly died while Biffy… well, Biffy would rather have been turned into a vampire. Maybe it's early, but I am sensing a pattern with this. I'll be keeping an eye out for it in the Custard Protocol series (a sequel to the Parasol Protectorate series following Alexia's daughter, Prudence).

I'll just say this is another example of how to step back into a beloved fictional world without ruining it and leave it at that. 

52 Weeks of Books Challenge? What is that? What book is Cat reviewing next week?