In all honesty I kinda expected this to be the conclusion of the series. Don't ask me why. I just did. So I was kinda surprised when at the end of the book I discovered that well, there is at least one more instalment to come.
I enjoyed this instalment, quite a bit. In fact if you would have asked me halfway in I probably would have stated this was my favorite so far. But in the end, I guess it wasn't, since I rated Curtsies & Conspiracies half a star higher. Which made me pause.
Before I give you my long explanation as to why, let me start at the beginning.
I love Carriger's writing. Her witty take on the Brits makes me giggle and her gadget descriptions are a pure joy to the steampunk lover in me.
Having read all her works that have been published so far, I was actually astounded by this one, I think she is getting better and better actually.
The world of the Finishing School is set in the same one as her previous series, Parasol Protectorate, I loved the first series, so I am enjoying the world building in this one as well. But Carriger is not lazy about it, if you haven't read the Parasol Protecorate, you won't be lost or miss out on anything. Except, that some of the Characters reappear in the Parasol Protecorate and one sees what events actually led them to become who they were. The first series in this world being set later in time.
I really enjoyed that especially when it comes to Sidheag story and her character.
I think one of the reasons I liked this was the character building. Sophronia being up to her usual shananigans, is doing a lot of self-reflection, still desperately trying not to grow-up , she discovers that in fact she and all the others will do so, no matter what.
Carriger did a lot of character building when it comes to the group of friends, I really am looking forward to revisiting them.
But as much as I loved the surprising depth that was added to Sophronia's and her pals, I did get really really agitated with the love triangle situation. I loath those anyway. And while I didn't mind it in the last book, I seriously lost my patience with it this time around. The constant, oh but he is so nice, oh but that's not right about him... he is so much nice but maybe not - went on my last nerve. Thankfully, though, I think this has been resolved. One little side note to this, I was kinda disappointed by a certain lordling. Where is the freakn backbone I ask you?!
So while the love triangle was my annoyance, and probably added to the slightly lower rating, The storyline was probably the main reason for this to not rate as high as Finishing School #2. Because if one looks at it. What did really happen? I mean just before the big showdown and the resolve of this storyline? NOT much. So I was kinda left a bit baffled.
They basically went to a ball, a mystery was thrown in, then they went on a trip, big showdown. The end.
This left me feeling like I wanted more. I also got quite a few questions. The mystery was not as enticing as the others, I guess quite quickly where it was going, the adventure was also not quite as exciting as the others... so that left me with the character building. Which admittedly was deeper than any of Carriger's other books.
So basically if you are after a great plot, this will leave you a wee bit disappointed. If however you love character driven novels, this will be right up your alley.
A great steampunk YA. I am looking forward to hopefully get some of the questions I got answered in the next instalment. Which I will have to wait nearly a year for... BUT the good news: Prudence the first of Carriger's third Series set in this world will be released in March 2015.