Monday, October 28, 2013

ARC Book Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Brown/Hachette
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Rating: 2/5

Cover Impressions: 
Oh so pretty.  I love that this is not quite the typical pretty girl in a pretty dress cover.  For one, the dress fits quite well within the world of the book and shows no skin.  The knife adds interest but, at least in the image, appears to be

The Gist:
Sophronia is entering her second year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality - which is actually Mademoiselle Geraldine's training school for young spies.  The girls are excited to learn of an upcoming trip to London, but Sophronia believes that there must be some mysterious reason that the school would come out of hiding and she puts her lessons to good use in trying to get to the bottom of the nefarious plot.

  I am still not sure how I feel about this book.  I certainly enjoyed it more that Etiquette & Espionage, however, I am still not sure I actually LIKED it.

My major issues from the previous book remained:

1) the names - the unpronounceable, ridiculous and annoying names!  I simply cannot get past this point and I feel it was completely unnecessary.  I couldn't help picturing the author throwing our random scrabble tiles in order to create some of these characters - an image that was constantly distracting me from the plot.
2) The lack of character development.  Sophronia continues to be self centered and singularly focused - to the detriment of those around her.  Her friends continue to be mere plot movers and are not able to stand on their own.  They have interesting facets, but we never get to explore them.
3) The steampunk - I know, I know, that is what a lot of people love about this series but, I just can't seem to wrap my head around it.  To be honest, this may not be a failing within the book itself, since I just can't seem to find a steampunk book that I enjoy.  I always end up thoroughly confused by the nonsensical explanations of technology and bored by the info-dumping.

This is, however, the book for anyone that enjoys steampunk and is looking for non-stop action.  I was almost breathless watching Sophronia run from one task to another.  There are werewolves, vampires, kidnappings and high flying theatrics.    The world building is extremely detailed and the blend of paranormal elements adds an interesting twist.

I think I am bowing out on this particular series.  It would take a pretty spectacular synopsis to lure me back in next time - we shall see.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Knifeplay, Gunplay
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: None


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