Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Series: Finishing School, Book 3
Genres: Young Adult, SciFi, Steampunk, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Historical
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Sophronia said, “this is wonderful.” She walked to the door, stuck her head out, and said, “Would any other eligible young men like to join our party? I don’t know, to attract more of my mother’s unwanted attention?”
Dimity said, on a slight smile, although still tending to Sidheag’s finer feelings, “Be sensible, Sophronia, we don’t know any other eligible young men.” (Ch. 7)
So much happens in this novel, I don’t know where to start. Once again Carriger managed to pull my heartstrings in so many different directors it felt as if I could hardly keep up. The relationships in this world continued to get all tied up together, being both messy and perfect at the same time. While at times it felt as if said relationships were like a car crash – horrifying to look at but being unable to look away once you’re spotted it – every sticky moment was worth it.
While not as good as the first two books in the series (in my opinion), I still find myself head over heels in love with the world that Carriger has created. Waistcoats & Weaponry is an amazing third installment of this fantastic series.
If you’re looking for an amazing Steampunk series, you should certainly check this one out – starting with Etiquette & Espionage. The second book, Curtsies & Conspiracies remains my favourite in the series, but the whole series is exceptionally well done.
Right off the bat, my heart strings were pulled looking at Professor Braithwope after his tether was snapped. He was such a fine vampire (and professor) before the whole thing took place. While I doubt it’ll ever get better for him, part of me certainly does wish that the craziness is only temporary. Either that, or Sophronia is going to find a way to use his craziness to her advantage in some scheme she concocts.
The moment of levity wherein Dimity asks Sophronia to do something about Preshea was just about the only moment of levity in the story. I must admit, it was perfectly timed, even if it signified the end of the crew being happy and all together. And, of course, it proves once again that Sophronia really is the ring leader of the group.
Then poor Sidheag gets a pigeon and her whole world turns upside down. Thankfully Captain Niall was there to help her out with the situation, even if things didn’t go the way she hoped they would. Lord Maccon ended up taking over another pack and poor Captain Niall was forced to become the new Alpha of the Kingair pack. While I’m happy that Sidheag ended up with Captain Niall, the way in which they were forced together was not the best of situations.
Looking at their relationship, it was clear that they had feelings for each other even though one was a teacher and the other a student. Sidheag being so young, having not yet come out to society, she didn’t expect anything to come from a school girl’s crush. And then we have Captain Niall, who looked at Sidheag in a particular way when he thought she wasn’t looking. Who was willing to take off with her at the drop of a tear without really asking questions. He already cared deeply for the girl before the dewan forced their engagement for the betterment of the pack. I’d love to see if, in the future, Sidheag’s request to be bitten ends up being fulfilled resulting in her and Captain Niall being able to spend eternity together.
Skipping ahead a lot to look at the gathering in which the two end up together, I need to get what happened to Soap off of my chest. It breaks my heart what happened to the poor boy in this novel.
Starting in Curtsies & Conspiracies, Soap gets pulled into a love triangle with Sophronia when she officially meets Felix. The poor boy was open and upfront about his feelings for Sophronia straight from the get go so the antagonism between the boys was certainly warranted. Sure his status as a sootie made him illegible for Sophronia’s hand, not to mention the colour of his skin for the time, but he was fighting hard to get Sophronia to see beyond all that to the man he was. The man that truly cared about her.
Yet Sophronia is vocal about trying to get Felix to be hers. She doesn’t mince words, even if it might spare Soap’s feelings. She was excited about attending her brother’s engagement ball as it meant getting to spend some time with Felix, and ended up being quite upset when she realized that Soap had found a way to sneak into the masquerade.
Things between the two continued to be rocky throughout the rest of the book, hitting peak conflict when Soap admitted to Sophronia his desire to become a werewolf. Sophronia was still unable to deal with the reality of losing Soap, even if she was unwilling to view him as a potential suitor. It must have been exceptionally hard for her at the end to convince the dewan to turn Soap, even though it was the exact opposite of what she wanted. Then again, maybe it was a little too easy for her. She was willing to give herself away in order to save the boy, even if saving him meant allowing him to be taken from her forever. While she couldn’t quite admit it to herself, it’s quite obvious that Sophronia has deep feelings (one might even say love) for Soap.
I found it tear-jerkingly adorable that once the transformation took place Sophronia sat on the ground with Soap’s wolf head in her lap, just stroking his head to assure herself her survived the transition. Soap only wanted to become a werewolf because he hoped to prove himself worthy of Sophronia and it was his best chance at life. There was no way for him to rise among the societal classes, so his only option was to rise in the shadows.
All that being said, I’m really upset about what happened to Felix in this novel. While not more upset than what happened to Soap (he did die after all), my heart broke a little bit because of him. He’d really grown on me and I was expecting Sophronia to end up being charmed by him and ended up with him at the end of the series. Now, I don’t see how that’s ever going to be possible.
Felix, why did you have to tell your father all about Sophronia and her friends? Yes, there’s loyalty in family, but if you were really that head over heels in love with her, wouldn’t you want to stop your father from trying to kill her? All of the moments between Felix and Sophronia in this novel made my heart flutter and I was looking forward to them getting over their political differences. Yet there are some things that one cannot get over – betrayal of this magnitude being one of them.
Jumping back to the start of the novel, I was hoping that being at school would be better for Sophronia and her friends now that Monique has left. I should have known that Preshea was going to taken over, since she’d become Monique’s lackey so early on. While we don’t get to see much of Preshea’s evil ways as most of this novel takes place outside of school, I’m sure we’ll encounter more of her “wit” in Manners & Mutiny.
I also should have known better than to think that Monique was gone from the story. Sure she might have found her own hive to join after leaving Professor Braithwope as his drone, and yes they might still be players in the political game Sophronia was trying to navigate, but I thought that she had (not so) gracefully left the scene. Having her be the one on the train the crew stole was a nice twist I hadn’t seen coming. It was also nice to see Sophronia get the upper hand against her. While dropping her into a pond meant that they didn’t have proof of their story, it was nice to see Monique get at least some of the punishment that she deserved.
Finally, on a lighter note, I’d just like to briefly touch on Agatha and Pillover’s relationship. It’s adorable that the two of them seem to be quietly into each other. Pillover only wants to brood when Agatha isn’t there, which makes his change in mood that much more adorable when she’s around. He even went as far as to ask Dimity how she was doing – showing interest in a girl in a way that’s quite different from the regular Pillover. I look forward to seeing how this relationship develops, as it’s a slowburn I’m definitely here for.
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