Friday, January 8, 2016

Series Review - Finishing School by Gail Carriger

I've recently been re-reading some of my favorite books, in part to get myself ready to read the most recent book in the series. It's one of my biggest habits as a reader, and one that I'm actually trying to work on - I'm trying to make sure that I'm reading more new books than re-reading old books in a year, and that can be difficult when all I want to do is curl up with an old favorite. At any rate, a series I recently finished was the Finishing School series (first book is Etiquette & Espionage) by Gail Carriger.

I had previously read the Parasol Protectorate series by the same author, so when I found out that she was writing a prequel, young adult series, I was very excited. It was lovely to see how some of the characters in the Parasol Protectorate books started out, and getting a better sense of where they came from makes re-reading the later books take on a new meaning.

The series are set in an alternate Victorian England, in which vampires and werewolves have been integrated into society. Sophronia is the main character of the Finishing School series, and she is a young lady who has been sent off to, well, a finishing school. She is under the impression that it will be the standard type of schooling, teaching her how to behave in society and hopefully marry well; however, she quickly learns that she will be learning very different skills, in addition to the standards.

Following young women in the early 19th century as they learn how to set up a household and also spy for Queen and country (or hive, or pack, or some other service) is a joy to behold. The characters grow over the course of the books, while still behaving believably as teenagers would. The language is appropriate for the time period, but doesn't hit you over the head with dialect.

Overall, I found the series highly entertaining, and light enough to make for a good afternoon's read while still tackling some difficult issues. I definitely recommend all of the series by this author.