Number of pages: 310
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: teen fiction, mystery, supernatural, and steampunk
Rating: ages 14 and up
Notes: book 2 in the Finishing School series
After Sophronia’s first year in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, she returns to yet another year were young girls are trained to be spies. Sophronia is at the top of her game as she runs around the dirigible school at late hours snooping around teacher’s quarters and the boiler room, and learns of a conspiracy. But with Sophronia’s knack for espionage while displaying proper mannerisms, she finds out the truth as to who is behind this mysterious plot, while succumbing to London’s seasonal balls and romantic interests.
It seems that there is always a mystery onboard the floating school as Sophronia begins her second term at the Finishing Academy. Along with her friends Dimity, Sidheag, and Agatha our girls continue training but this term is different as the young ladies in Geraldine’s school learn that they are going on a trip to London accompanied by boys. Not only that but it appears that Sophronia has caught the attention of two suitors (much to her demise as if her life isn’t complicated already).
Filled with wit and humor, Gail Carriger has once again marked her place in steampunk fiction, and gives a full account of the teachers in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s school. Each one has a secret to hide leading to a conspiracy involving a mysterious but dangerous device that maybe a threat to humans and supernaturals. But Sophronia is quick to notice a conspiracy and uses this opportunity to apply her training, and with the assistance of her friends and her loyal mechanimal, Bumbersnoot, she seeks the truth behind the nature of the device, while putting a stop to whatever dark plans that involve the safety of her friends.
Apart from Sophronia’s adventure in unraveling a great conspiracy, she finds herself in an internal crisis as two boys openly court her (on separate occasions of course). Each smitten by her eccentric personality and aloof behavior, or could Sophronia be pretending just so she can practice the lessons taught by Mademoiselle Geraldine? But like any girl her age, Sophronia is confused by her feelings between the boys and wonders how she has to deal with them as she dedicates her future in espionage.
This book had me giggling in the right places particularly at the parts where Sophronia undeniably feels torn between two boys and wonders how her life got so complicated. Regardless, Sophronia proves to be a clever and quick-witted even in the most dire circumstances, including being in the company of the potentate. Speaking of vampires, Lord Akeldama makes a small appearance and makes up for an exciting evening that includes Sophronia attending seasonal balls and dressing up as a young boy in disguise. Oh my! Wouldn’t mummy be shocked when she finds out! Luckily for her and the family they have no idea what goes on within the steel walls of the dirigible school. And that’s one secret Sophronia wants to keep to herself as her personal life has already been complicated enough with boys.
My verdict: 5 hoots out of 5.