Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger | Book Review

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

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger | Book ReviewWaistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #3
Also in this series: Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies
Also by this author: Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies
on November 4th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Steampunk, Girls & Women, Social Issues, Manners & Etiquette, Historical, General, Action & Adventure, Love & Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Class is back in session....
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 hijack a suspiciously empty train to return their chum Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. But when Sophronia discovers they are being trailed by a dirigible of Picklemen and flywaymen, she unearths a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos. With her friends in mortal danger, Sophronia must sacrifice what she holds most dear--her freedom.
Gather your poison, your steel-tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series by steampunk author Gail Carriger.

I feel as though I have read Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series in a whirlwind and am a bit bereft that I do not have the last book in the series - Manners & Mutiny to read upon finishing Waistcoats & Weaponry. I’ll be honest and tell you all that I feel each book gets successively better, so while I binge read these books, I got more and more attached to the series. I absolutely had a blast reading book three, Waistcoats & Weaponry a book that is certainly different from its predecessors in a very good way.

Carriger’s Waistcoats & Weaponry picks up pretty much where Curtsies & Conspiracies leaves off. The book opens up with Sidheag receiving bad news. She has discovered that the pack Kingair in Scotland has plotted against the Queen and is now in her bad graces. Her grandfather, Lord Maccon, has left the pack. Distraught, Sidheag is determined to return to Scotland.

Meanwhile, Sophronia and Dimity have received permission to leave Mademosielle Geraldine’s to go to Sophronia’s brother’s engagement ball, where something very curious happens with the mechanicals. Long story short, the gang eventually ends up on a train that seems kind of empty and madcap adventures ensue featuring Pickleman, Flywaymen, werewolves and even a cameo from Monique, whom we all thought we were rid of.

I think I would dislike this series if Sophronia made no character growth progress. Luckily, Finishing School does indeed, have progress and change and growth for the main character. It is interesting to see how Sophronia has grown over the books. She’s still the ringleader of her group, but now she’s confident enough to outwit teachers. She seems to have really blossomed and is now aware of her lady charms, if you all know what I mean. It is actually really funny in a lot of scenes. Also! She’s picked a favorite weapon and has even maybe thought a bit more about a patron for when she finishes school. All very exciting things to happen for her character with this book.

YOU GUYS! There might be a bit of kissing or at least thoughts of kissing in this book and it is great. Waistcoats & Weaponry finally FINALLY makes a little bit good on the romance that has been hinted at in the other books. As you well know, Sophronia does not have a beau or anything of the like and she did not really think about that overmuch in the previous two books. However, in the first book she’s fourteen, and in the second she is fifteen. This isn’t exactly something that crosses her mind. Now, though, on the train, with lives at stake, she gives some serious thought to it and well, let me just say that when it comes down to Soap vs. Lord Mersey, I am team Soap all the way.

I actually didn’t really pick up on this about Carriger’s Finishing School series until right now writing this review and thinking about the books of the series in retrospect, however, these books are a bit deeper than good steampunk regency era supernatural fun. They take on race, class, and gender in this subtle way where maybe you wouldn’t pick up on it unless you think about these books deeply. For one, Soap is Black and this definitely affects the relationship between Sophronia and Soap. There’s attraction, but neither can really act on it, given Soap’s skin color and also station in life as a sootie. There’s also the fact that after the school, the girls can either marry well or work for a patron as Intelligencers. Then there’s this whole class system as well. This book, and well, frankly, this series, is so much smarter than I gave it credit for. It isn’t in your face on these topics, but oh man, it is definitely there and I love that.

After my time binge reading Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, I cannot help but give a wholehearty recommendation that you do the same before Manners & Mutiny releases on November 3rd. I guarantee that these books are worth your weekend.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’m excited to start book 2 this weekend. I really need to catch up with this series and also read her PP series. Great review!

  2. I can’t wait for Manners & Mutiny, I really love this series and am excited to see how it wraps up! Totally agree that each book gets better, W&W was my favorite so far! I adore Sophronia and I love Soap too. Plus all the humor and adventure. I’m a big fan of the adult series as well so I love when I spot an easter egg 🙂 Great review!

  3. Yay! Team Soap!! I binge listened to this series, and now I NEED to get my hands on the last book – I’m kind of dying, not gonna lie.
    Great review 🙂
    – Krys