Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Reading 2014 Waistcoats and Weaponry

Sophronia just keeps getting better. As her time at finishing school continues, she matures and gains more intelligencer (i.e. spy) skills. Although Vieve has donned a false mustache and now attends Bunson's school for boys, Sophronia still has her other friends and her beau, Lord Felix Mersey. This semester finds the whole group caught up in an intrigue involving the Picklemen (like Felix's father) and the supernaturals, especially the Westminster Hive of vampires. Fallout from the clash includes a wrecked train, two smashed dirigibles, two gunshot wounds (I'm not saying which characters suffer from them), and Dimity's gown from the masked ball. At the same time there is trouble with the werewolf pack of Sideagh's grandfather. Add to that an engagement party for Sophronia's brother, sabotage of the domestic mechanicals around Oxford, a vampire professor suffering a breakdown, and Sophronia's mother trying to force her into an engagement with Dimity's younger brother. It's a recipe for disasters of all shapes and sizes, although there are a few high points - such as defeating the evil Monique once again.

For those who have not read the previous two books, here's a brief outline description. The series is set in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. The British Empire owes much of its success to the inclusion of supernaturals in society. Werewolves serve in the military where their aggression, rapid healing, and loyalty come in very handy. Vampires spend more time in fashionable pursuits and coordinating their wardrobes, but also have political influence. Sophronia attends finishing school aboard a dirigible which floats above the moor unless circumstances call for a more specific location. To the world, it is a regular school for young ladies who will soon debut in society. In actuality it is an academy to train intelligence operatives that are highly sought after once they graduate. Sophronia excels at organizing her friends for missions and they all have useful skills such as tinkering with mechanical inventions, knowledge of werewolves, practical experience with airships and boilers, etc. Their past exploits have earned them some attention from possible future patrons and enemies. One professor even wonders if they have done too god a job of teaching Sophronia.

I disagree. They have trained her wonderfully and we are the lucky ones who get to see her in action. If you enjoy steampunk, paranormal/urban fiction, and daring female protagonists - best get your tea and nibbly bits ready for a nice long reading session.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book will be published on November 4, 2014.

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