Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Author Gail Carriger
Format E-ARC
Print Length 310 pages
Publisher Hachette Little, Brown & Co
Published November 2013

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia's first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy--won't Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers' quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship's boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot--one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail's distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

My Opinion

I am usually not a reader of steampunk but there is something about this serious that captures me hook, line and sinker. Curtsies & Conspiracies picks up right where Etiquette & Espionage left off and boy was it an entertaining read.

There was a test given to all of the girls at the school and Sophronia scored the highest on all but one section. This has put her at odds with the other girls in the school. I dare say even her best friend, Dimity is having a hard time with her beating out everyone. This is quite vexing as it the girls’ standoffish attitude last quite a while. Monique’s parents are throwing a ball and the girls are all trying to secure an invitation, making her even more unbearable than before. Sophronia is suspicious about the reason for the entire school to fly to London, is it really for the hot air balloon experiment or is it for another reason all together. How will she find out the answer to her growing suspension when everyone else is thinking about the Season.

Sophronia has come a long way from the inquisitive gal she was in Etiquette & Espionage. Her training has encouraged her to go her own way- even if that way is a tad bit dangerous. She does however think things through before jumping right in to save the day. This is a good thing as she is going to be needed to save the day- there is an attempted kidnapping of a loved one in this story that she has to prevent. Will she be able to save the day? Or will her friend be lost forever? Not only that but is there a conspiracy to kill the resident vampire?

I wish Sophronia was not so clueless when it came to members of the opposite gender. For all her cleverness you would have thought that she would have observed enough interaction of couples that she would know when she was being courted (Lord Mersey) or when someone unacceptable was falling for her (Soap). This of course is setting up a lovely love triangle, to be played out in the next book.

Overall, Curtsies & Conspiracies is a charming tale that at times was frustrating. An entertaining read that is a welcome distraction from reality.

My Rating 4 stars out of 5

Favorite Quote If nothing else, this test has told us you are probably spying on us, as well as everyone around you.

Other People

Lord Mersey- a suitor for Sophronia
Dimity- Sophronia’s best friend and roomie
Sidheag- werewolf and friend of Sophronia
Agatha- friend of Sophronia
Soap- a sootie with a crush on Sophronia


  1. OOoh nice!! I still need to read this one! I read E&E as an ARC so I am wayyyyy behind! Love Gail's writing though! I highly recommend her Parasol Protectorate series which takes place in this same world but some years later...I think I heard 30? But it was a delightful series and isn't too heavy on the steampunk part of the world, though it's still clearly present!

    Again, great review! Looking forward to returning this series!

  2. Lovely review,

    I'm not much of a reader of steampunk either, but this one definitely draws my eye. I might have to check this one out, it sounds like a nice world to get lost in.

  3. I enjoy a good steampunk. Glad this one captured you.

  4. I enjoy steampunk, but haven't read many of them! I'm glad that you enjoyed this story overall, and found it a charming distraction from reality. However, I could see where it would be frustrating having such a clever man character, be so clueless about boys. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape