My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Waistcoats & Weaponry continues the adventures of Sophronia Temminick and her ragtag group of friends — Dimity, Sidheagh, Agatha (although not as much in this book), and Bumbersnoot the mechanimal — as well as developing further the romantic interest with both her sootie friend Soap and the aristrocratic young Lord Felix Mersey, son of a Pickleman.
I admit, when I first began reading this series, which begins with Etiquette and Espionage, terms such as sootie, mechanimal, and pickleman would have completely confounded me. That is, however, part of the genius of Gail Carrigers well-crafted speculative world. Unlike many other speculative fiction novels that dump entirely too much information about the made-up world onto the readers in the very beginning and end up boring them to tears and turning them off of the book, this series started right in with the action, and relied on the readers’ intelligence to figure out unknown elements from well described context. Now in the third book, Carriger continues her action packed intrigue, fun gadgets, and not talking down to her readers.
In the third installment, the plot thickens considerably, including a major upset in the werewolf world that turns Sidheagh’s world upside down, more conflict between vampires and picklemen, a ball, and the stealing of a train. The development of the characters continues, with Sophronia beginning to examine more closely her feelings for both Felix Mersey and Soap, as well as beginning to seriously consider whose patronage she will pursue after Finishing — the werewolves? The picklemen? the vampires? The queen? — and a budding romance between Sidheagh and Niall the werewolf. The majority of the action of the book takes place off of the floating Miss Geraldine’s school, with Sophronia, Sidheagh and even Dimity beginning to demonstrate the fruits of their training out in the real world. My only complaint is that the book ended with the promise of much much more to come from Sophronia and company, and I desperately want to know what happens next!