I love Gail Carriger’s steampunk novels. Have I mentioned this? In particular, I like her Parasol Protectorate books and her Finishing School series. In her latest (and last) of the Finishing School novels, Manners & Mutiny, we follow protagonist Sephronia Temminnick as she tries to finish her final year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s.
This book was released on Wednesday November 4, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. Just because I finished this book over the course of about three lunch hours doesn’t mean everyone did. But just in case I do spill something plotty, below be SPOILERS. You have been warned.
Sephronia and her friends, Dimity and Agatha, are given some increasingly complex tests as a part of their final year. And not just in classes. They have a ball with the all boys school Bunson’s on Swiffle-on-Exe, where Dimity’s brother Pillover and their friend Vieve (a girl masquerading as a boy) attend. And let’s not forget about Felix de Mersey, Sephronia’s other suitor (the first being sootie Soap).
Felix and Sephronia are at loggerheads due to his involvement of Soap dying and becoming a werewolf in the previous novel. Things do not get better here. Felix is the son of the Grand Gherkin of the Picklemen (aren’t these titles just fantastic?! They’re so silly. I love them), who shot soap and is generally a bad guy and the Picklemen are clearly up to something.
They break into Mademoiselle Geraldine’s after the ball but leave with nothing, vexing Sophronia who got into trouble with the teachers. She chased the Picklemen and got caught. They’re not upset about the former but they are upset about the latter. Sophronia gets saddled with all sorts of busy work that leave her no time to figure out what the Picklemen are up to.
To make matters a little worse, Soap keeps showing up attempting to court her. Sophronia, despite what her heart wants, is still a member of high society and a lady like her can’t be with the only black werewolf in England. It just isn’t done. And don’t blame me or Ms. Carriger for those words. That was the times in mid-1800s England.
Will Soap ever talk Sophronia around? What are the Picklemen up to? Why is Felix trying so hard to make up with Sophronia? And what is going on with Lord Akeldama (and really, we all wonder that)? Read to find out!
I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It makes me sad that it was the last in the series but obviously you can’t continue finishing school once you’ve properly finished and debuted. I’m hoping that we’ll continue to see more from this lovely world and lovely writer. I highly recommend this series and this book. Rating: A+