Book Review: Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Posted January 18, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
Genres: Steampunk
on November 3, 2015
Pages: 326
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Curtsies & Conspiracies, Etiquette and Espionage, Waistcoats & Weaponry, Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Prudence, Imprudence, Competence, Reticence, Changeless, Blameless , Heartless , Timeless

Fourth and last in the Finishing School steampunk YA series and revolving around Sophronia Temminnick and her friends and set in the skies of 1854 England. Do read this series before you start The Parasol Protectorate, if only because the characters in this one lead into the next series.

My Take

Carriger so cracks me up. She has such fun blending finishing school requirements with espionage tactics for refined young ladies…! “Working on a language for crumb and currant communication” indeed! Then there are the names! Oh, lordy, Carriger is incredibly inventive with those silly names, lol. Nor does she limit her inventiveness to the names or lessons. The story itself is fun with all sorts of undercurrents and minor conflicts. You can’t help but fall into the enjoyment.

Manners & Mutiny was great fun what with Sophronia infiltrating the dirigible, going against the odds to take down the hijackers using the “arts” she’s learned, lol.

Dang! I wish I’d known much earlier that breast-pampering foodstuffs existed. Or that emotions affected the size and quality of one’s endowments! Sigh…*as I laugh*

“Last time all they’d done was have [the mechanicals] sing ‘Rule Britannia!’. What was next? A ruthless bout of ballet?”

There’s a lovely minor conflict in Manners & Mutiny in the changing relationship between Sophronia and Soap. I do love Soap. Carriger does a lovely job of exploring social class and bigotry in the burgeoning relationship between the two. She certainly kept me on tenterhooks! And such a conclusion…!

There are quite a few surprising revelations in this, and what with Carriger so beautifully tying everything up and then leading me on to wanting, no, needing to re-read The Parasol Protectorate, and then I can finally read The Custard Protocol series! Characters from Finishing School carry on into both, and I do love following characters throughout their “lives”.

The Story

Infiltration by Picklemen of the school sets off Sophronia’s mental alarms. What could they possibly want? Why take this chance?

It will all lead to a series of derring-do worthy of James Bond!

The Characters

Sophronia “Ria” Temminnick is an excellent student in the finishing arts of espionage who has promised to enter the dewan’s service. Bumbersnoot is her coal-eating mechanimal, her pet metal dog, with the ability to swallow in two different ways: storage or into his boiler. Petunia is the most-recently married sister. She’s now Mrs. Hisselpenny, and her husband loves to indulge her.

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott (manipulation through proper dress is her forté — amazing the weapons that can be concealed in a hat!), the shy and retiring Agatha Woosmoss has an unexpected talent for Encrypting with Flower Arrangements with a special study on tussie mussies and airborne poisons; and, their fellow friend (and former student after events in Waistcoats & Weaponry), Lady Kingair, who is now preparing to leave the country.

Miss Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is…

…a cover for teaching those “young ladies of quality” how to spy using the weapons of their gender and status. The school “building” is a dirigible that floats in the skies with a cover of steam. Teachers include the clueless Mademoiselle Geraldine as headmistress; Lady Linette is the one truly in charge; Professor Braithwope is a rove vampire gone nutso who is tethered to the dirigible; Professor Lefoux is drone to Prof. Braithwope; Professor Shrimpdittle; and, Sister Mattie teaches botany and poisons.

Captain Niall is a werewolf who is no longer teaching self-defense after events in Waistcoats & Weaponry. Preshea Buss is the nasty student.

The sooties are…
…the boys who keep the boilers turning over and do all the repairs. Handle is the new unofficial head since Soap was saved in Waistcoats & Weaponry. Smokey Bones is the cat mascot.

Bunson and Lacroix’s Boys’ Polytechnique is actually…

…a boys’ school for budding evil geniuses and a prime source of recruitment for the Picklemen. The punkish Lord Felix Mersey is one of its students with skills in machinations and evil machinery — and has been quite interested in Sophronia. And succeeding until events in Waistcoats & Weaponry. He’s the son of the Duke of Golborne. Pillover is Dimity’s younger brother who is engaged to Sophronia. Don’t ask, *giggle*, read Waistcoats & Weaponry. Lord Dingleproops is a friend of Felix’s and a fellow member of the Pistons. Gaspar Lefoux is actually Genevieve “Vieve” Lefoux. She’s disguised herself as a boy as her interest lies in machinery and not lady’s refinements. She’s Professor Lefoux’s niece, er, um, “nephew”. Professor Faldetta is the oldest and most severe of the teachers.

The Pistons are…
…a Bunson’s club known for churning out new Picklemen — usually the” most evil and least genius” of the boys.

The vampires include…

Lord Akeldama, a rich rove in London with a love for colorful clothes, intelligence, intrigue, and the oddest endearments. He has a collection of lovely drones who dress well and have beautiful manners including Peanut, Bolo, Dingle, and Pilpo.

The Westminster Hive is…
…a group of vampires in London ruled by Countess Nadasdy as its queen. Monique de Pelouse is a rogue student from Miss Geraldine’s Academy who is a drone for the Westminster Hive. She and Sophronia have quite the adversarial relationship.

The Picklemen are…

…men, obviously *grin*, who are against all supernaturals. There are different offices starting with the highest, the Chutney, followed by the Grand Gherkin who is the backstabbing Duke of Golborne, Felix’s father, and Spice Administrator Spicer?? Bawkin who is compiling notes from the school’s records.

Lord Slaughter, the Earl of Upper Slaughter, is the dewan, the queen’s personal advisor and keeps the peace between Alphas through his position on the Shadow Council. Soap used to be the head sootie at Miss Geraldine’s. Soap cleans up very well!

“‘Friendship would be a start.’

‘No, miss, friendship would be a finish.'”

Mr. Pilldorff sells accessories. Mr. Thermopopple is the official inventor to the queen. Lemuel Gengulphus is a newspaperman. The Ghost Wrangler is a crone draped in white and gray — Madame Septuna! She’s one of the Academy’s field agents — Lavish Vivita — and a Pickleman infiltrator.

To be tethered means a vampire cannot leave his home area. Drones are both servants and food to vampires. Mechanicals are machines that serve humans as servants, workmen, and more. A rove vampire is a loner. An obstructor shuts down mechanicals. A hurlie is a grappling hook. An intelligencer is an agent who operates independently in the field. Flywaymen are the steampunk equivalent of highwaymen.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a deep yellow brocade background with a quite adult-looking Sophronia in her black ballgown with elaborate lace edging, a huge pendant and earrings, and the all-important, quite beautiful crossbow — it’s a lot bigger than I imagined!

The title is the ultimate accolade for Miss Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, for Sophronia combines Manners & Mutiny to save the day.

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3 responses to “Book Review: Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

  1. If you’ve read The Parasol Protectorate series, this one fills in background on those characters. There’s one particular instance in this one that has me dying to re-read Soulless to find out if my thought is right.

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