Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Cover of "Curtsies and Conspiracies," featuring a girl in a gray dress with a full skirt holding a knife in one hand
Image from Gail Carriger

Title: Curtsies and Conspiracies

Series: Finishing School #2

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Steampunk

Warning: This book is second in a series, so this review will probably contain spoilers of Etiquette and Espionage.

Back Cover:

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.


After how much I loved Etiquette and Espionage, I pestered my mom at least daily to get into town to stop at the library and get Curtsies and Conspiracies. But once I got it, I had to wait a while to read it, because I knew I’d want an empty afternoon to just read the whole thing.

In my review of Etiquette and Espionage, I mentioned that Sophronia was fun, but I thought she’d be amazing with a few more dangerous skills. And I was right. Last book’s unmannerly and unfinished Sophronia has become amazingly good at all the secret stuff Madamouiselle Geraldine’s teaches. Those skills plus her natural cleverness and knack for finding trouble made her absolutely awesome.

Gah, I want to mention all the characters! Even the minor characters were so unique and fun.

Yeah, I think there was a plot…. Okay, there was. And it was interesting. There were all sorts of things to learn about the world and new technology (and even some of the vampire hive rules and intrigue). And it was fascinating and fabulous (especially when Dimity and Sophronia pretend to be male vampire drones…but anyway). However…

I still think the actual finishing school is the best part about this book. I love steampunk anyway, but with a school that trains girls to be proper ladies and spies – yeah, I think I’m in love.

My first impression was correct – this book is best read in one sitting. Now why the heck doesn’t book three come out until November?

The Finishing School series:

  1. Etiquette and Espionage
  2. Curtsies and Conspiracies
  3. Waistcoats and Weaponry (November 4, 2014)
  4. Manners and Mutiny (2015)




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