Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

intheblackout's review

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mehsi's review against another edition

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Another book in this awesome series (I should also really read the Parasol Protectorate series!).

However there were several things I didn't like, and I will start with those to get them out of my system.

For one, I expected more school, more lessons, more boarding school fun. Instead we only get a small bit about it and then it is off to balls, stealing trains and more. I really had hoped for more poison lessons, more seduction lessons, more vampires, more climbing to meet with Soap, maybe a few balls with all the other girls included.

Then we got the last part, and I will post that under spoiler tags, because I just need to rant about this.
SpoilerSeriously, Sophronia is finally seeing that she loves Soap, and that she is finally saying: Fuck this, I like him, I want him, and yes it might be difficult but it is ok. And what does the author do? Let Soap be shot, and turn him in a fucking werewolf. Seriously, was that REALLY needed? No, it wasn't and I really detested this, I really hated it. I feel like the book was a bit ruined for me. Which is why I am downrating this book to 3 stars instead of the 4 stars.
I was sooooo delighted to see her finally finding out who she loves, picking a boy out of the 2 she was flirting with, picking a boy who isn't rich, who isn't white, who is low in class. I was just cheering, squealing in happiness. Only to have that shot. I chatted about it with someone else and they also agreed they didn't think it was fitting and it was a cheap way out.

Ah that feels so much better now that is out of my system!

Also something I found too bad was the fact that quite a bit of time has passed since events from the last book. It is a shame, I would have loved to know about what happened after things happened, maybe some lessons, maybe some other things.

Now for the good things. We have a new weapon (yeah for fans with blades, I want one too). And Sophronia has a wonderful talent for using it and also using it in combination with other things.

I also loved the seduction class and how all the girls were giggling, blushing and in general just totally shocked with all the things they learn there. It also shows how girls are generally kept away from all this, because these days it is quite unheard of that a 15 to 17 year old doesn't know about all this.
I had quite a few laughs at the whole chapter, it was too bad it was over so soon.

We also have a little part about the Professor Braithwope and how he was totally crazy (or is he?) because of events that happened earlier.

And I loved the story and also what happened to Sidheag and her family, it was a sad event, but also brought some excitement to the already very exciting book.

I did like the train journey and the events that happened on it.

And did I say I love the cover. I am so happy they all match and that each one gets better and more fun.

All in all though I did like the book, but as you could read there were also enough things I didn't particularly like.

I will be waiting for the next book, hopefully soon, and hopefully it will have a bit more finishing school, though I guess not, considering the events in this book.

Review first posted at

cooliuscaesar451's review against another edition

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adventurous dark funny fast-paced


marlieraines's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


alysoninthelibrary's review

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Listening to this series, and this has been the best one so far.

chelsea_jack's review

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Full disclosure - I'm a complete Gail Carriger fangirl. The Parasol Protectorate series is the first steampunk series I ever read, and I adored it. The Finishing School series has absolutely lived up to my expectations. Needless to say, I dove on my copy of Waistcoats & Weaponry with much enthusiasm.

I devoured this book from start to finish forgetting that I had to write a review of it. I *loved* it. I laughed, I shook my head at the antics and I *bawled* at one point. Huge, gasping, sobs.

In addition to all the emotions, there are a few things I really loved about this book. First and foremost, the writing. There's a certain cheeky logic to the series, its emphasis on Victorian morals alongside the rules and modes of subterfuge. It's all delivered with such seriousness and as though the reader is clearly in the know about it that you cannot help but play again.

The set pieces here are as exquisite as ever. The finishing school itself is a wonder in the air, a floating contraption so ridiculous and yet perfectly suited for its purpose. There's a bit more travel involved as we get to spend a lot of time on the ground, but most of this is bound up in a train - and so we never leave behind the intimacy that the usual school setting provides.

Pacing is perfect - doses of action, espionage and feats of derring-do keep the story moving along. Sophronia, who is in peak form, provides moments of poignant, quiet reflection on the trials and tribulations of growing up, finishing well, and the maturing of friendships. I adore this character, the lengths to which she is willing and able to go, and the manner in which she carries herself through it all.

Not much Vieve here, for fans of the wee inventor, but other favorite secondary characters have plenty of screen time - particularly Soap, Dimity and Lord Mersey as well as the intrepid Bumbersnoot (can a mechanical be considered intrepid?).

Bottom line:

Fans of the series will love Waistcoats & Weaponry, and if you haven't tried the series yet, I strongly, strongly recommend picking up the first book - Etiquette & Espionage and catching up!

5 stars
For fans of steampunk, YA, vampires and werewolves bound by Victorian morals.

Received in exchange for an honest review.
See To Each Their Own Reviews for this and other reviews.

loishojmark's review

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3.5 ⭐⭐⭐

linbee83's review

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Oh, cannot wait for the next book in the series. This one ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger!

bexellency's review

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Quite a romp.  Sadly the racist language has now been joined by homophobia.  If you’re imagining a world with vampires and werewolves, why can’t you imagine away heteronormative and whitenormative framing while you’re at it?

catpingu's review against another edition

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Probably one of the best books in the series yet! Lots of action for little me, espionage and clever tricks, hitting all of my favorite marks! And of course, a nice dose of love triangle and ballgowns.

Sophronia has been recalled home to attend her eldest brother Ephraim's engagement ball. She's accompanied by her best friend Dimity and her brother Pillover, and her incessant suitor Lord Felix Mersey is coming too. Sidheag, who'd mysteriously disappeared for a bit over an emergency pigeon from her Scottish pack crashes the ball upset and accompanied by Captain Niall and the dewan. Ever the supportive friend, Sophronia ropes her friends into a high-speed chase and train-jacking to deliver her friend to Scotland.

Soap the sootie joins them on this adventure when he sneaks away from the academy's dirigible to secretly attend Sophronia's family ball. Face-to-face with Lord Felix Mersey and his posh arrogance, Sophronia doesn't have the time or faculties to handle them from possibly coming to fists. Her recently-learned seduction skills maker her interactions with Soap a little awkward, and she is determined to turn Felix away from his father's Pickleman cause. Three girls, two boys, and one mechanical dog all secretly embarking on a country roudtrip.

Besides a heist plot, an extended vehicle-jacking plot or survival plot is something that almost never fails to keep me engaged. It was intimated in the previous books how Sophronia isn't aware of how beautiful her smile is and how to fully utilize that, but now she's hit that part of her curriculum and I appreciate this pseudo-reference to sexual education for the uses of espionage as a way to entertain her interactions with Felix and Soap. Felix the edgy rich boy and Soap, the dependable honest sootie. Now that I think about it, those two are very Edward and Jacob: rich boy fixated on a weird girl who are both mutually attracted to each other because of appearances and wit, well-muscled mechanically-friendly charismatic boy-next-door to the female lead helping her with her adventures for as long as she's been in that new environment.

We know from The Parasol Protectorate what happens to the Kingair pack. We've finally answered the question about how
Spoilerthe Kingair pack came to own an aetherographic transmitter in their castle anyway! It was this runaway train incident!
I suspected this was the case, ever since the crystal valve transmitter was a prototype in book 1. All this has done is tell me: 1) I feel the strong urge to reread The Parasol Protectorate and 2) I've really wrapped myself in this franchise, haven't I?