Waistcoats and Weaponry (review)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3)
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Genre: Steampunk - Paranormal - Shifters - Vampires
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3 Stars

“Class is back in session...
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.”

*Obtained a copy via NetGalley for an honest review.*

I was a fan of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate since I first picked up the series. So when I heard the author was writing a YA series, I had to read it. Now, three books in, I still love the world she has created.

If you have read her other series, in at least one regard, you know exactly where this book is headed. After all, these events make that series possible. Despite knowing that whole subplot, I still rather enjoyed the story. Knowing didn't detract from anything, nor did it make me feel like I could predict the rest of the book. Which, I'll admit, I was afraid of when I read the blurb. I hate anticipating everything in a story. Little things here and there are okay, but I do not want to know how a book ties up before I get into the plot.

The third time around, Sophronia once again finds herself in the center of some Pickering-Supernatural mischief. Things we've been dealing with for a few books, and others we've only questioned about previously, all come into play in this book. We get to learn more about the two sides, and you can understand and really feel where Sophronia was coming from as she resists choosing one. I'm not at all surprised she does what she does towards the end.

Waistcoats and Weaponry has the same vibe as the other books. One of the things I love most about this series is it's humor/silliness. I mean with names Sophronia Temminnick and Dimity Plumleigh-Teigmott, you kind of know what you are getting when you turn the page. At it's heart the book is truly a coming of age novel. Sure, our heroine was being taught how to become a professional spy, but she was learning how to grow up and adapt to the changes life forces upon her. Gail Carriger brings us a dose of seriousness and reality, but levies it with humor. I must admit, I really like her style because of that.

What kept me from giving this book a higher rating was the romance. I LOVE romances. I think I may own more romances than any other genre/sub-genre out there. But I still cannot get into it in this series. I really liked Felix...until he opened his mouth. In books I usually adore the cocky, smart-mouthed, bad boy. Felix was perfect until he started spouting certain things. As a character he is growing, you can see him progress as the books go on. Yet, there are times that made me wonder if he wasn't the professional spy of the group. I'm not convinced he ever showed Sophronia his true nature, so I just cannot root for them as a couple.

And Soap. *hangs head* I just do not like him. There were times early on in this series, before any romance, that I thought maybe. But then Felix came along, and Soap kind of changed. I get that he was frustrated with his situation in life, and was forced to watch the girl he liked flirt with another man - a duke's son no less - knowing he had no chance, but the way he dealt with his jealous just bothered me. It's nothing right out there in your face, and I cannot just point to a particular passage and say 'there, that's why.' But I really would have preferred them to remain just friends.

Despite my misgivings, I did like the book. While it wasn't my favorite in the series, I am still looking forward to finding out happens in the fourth, and I believe last, book of the series.

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