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.
Gail Carriger amps up the fun and adventures in her Finishing School series, there’s no stopping Sophronia when she has her mind set on something. Waistcoats and Weaponry was quite the thrill ride, almost literally too since a good portion is spent speeding away on a train!
When Sophronia’s friend Sidheag receives devastating news regarding her pack, she is determined to get to them at whatever the cost. In the meantime, Sophronia is to attend her brother’s engagement party, accompanying her are Dimity, Pillover and Felix. It’s when a surprise visit from Sidheag comes that the party comes to an end. Though instead of Pillover tagging along, it’s Soap.
This series has quite the buildup to it. There are still times when I feel at a loss for what’s going on concerning the “politics” of the situation. Picklemen, werewolves, vampires, and then there’s the standing of the students from the two schools. It can be a little overwhelming and I think at times, I’m over-thinking things and that leads to even more confusion. So when it came to these parts in the story, I mostly just rolled with it, without truly getting a firm grasp on what was going on.
Which in a way brings me to Sophronia’s love triangle. I’ve been pretty much Team Felix, because the guy makes me laugh. He’s a flirt, but I believe his actions and feelings to be genuine. Though, Sophronia has a hard time trusting him completely because she knows he plans to follow in his father’s footsteps in being a Pickleman, which basically is a person who’s rotten to the core it seems. Though Felix is anything but rotten, ignoring the whole training to be an evil genius thing, because there’s a whole student body like that!
Then there’s Soap. I’ve always liked Soap, he’s a great guy, but I never saw much in him for the romance part of things. I saw him as a great friend and accomplice to Sophronia, though pretty much from the second book (or maybe from the beginning, but I can’t remember book 1 at all having it read it too long ago) he’s been taking a shine onto Sophronia. He was very adamant about Sophronia not having an dalliances with Felix, and I guess that part annoyed me. It was the whole jealousy factor, but more that he used his jealousy to tell Sophronia what to do. And when she just kind of brushed it off, it aggravated me a bit more. But that’s just me. I’d like to say it’s in this one a decision is made, but it didn’t feel very solid to me, but almost so. I guess the final book will give us that final absolute answer.
I’m pretty much always excited to read a Gail Carriger book because her characters are always filled with awesomeness! I love that Sophronia is a quirky kind of heroine. She doesn’t always follow the general rules of things and sticks to her own mind. Her best friend, Dimity is funny as well, but in her own way. She seems to be more the type to follow the rules to the letter, though she doesn’t seem to have as keen of knack for the whole spy thing like Sophronia does. Then Sidheag is just awesome as well. She is a total rule-breaker but has a strong loyalty to her pack, as we see in the story.
The ending led to quite a few shocks! I’ll be anxious to see how things get wrapped up in this one. This is definitely a fun and engaging series that I would definitely recommend to all YA steampunk fans. Especially if you’re looking for that beginner kind of steampunk novel, as Gail’s first series was my first steampunk and I quite enjoyed it. This series is the same world though some odd years earlier, but we don’t get to see Alexia in these sadly. But Sophronia definitely makes up for all it!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars