Pros: fun, quirky characters
Cons: more action than plot
Sophronia and her friends are enjoying school a year after their last adventure when Sidheag receives a distressing letter. She disappears and when Dimity and Sophronia attend Sophronia’s brother’s engagement ball, they rejoin her and stumble upon several plots.
This is the third book in the Finishing School series, and it is best read in order as plot points from the previous books, specifically several direct consequences from book two, are important to what’s happening here.
As with the other books, the girls are all quirky and fun to read about. We see them apply their talents in different ways as they rise to the challenges they face. The book is a quick and enjoyable read.
Unlike in the earlier books where the girls come across something strange and decide to investigate it, actively looking for new clues, in this volume they’re helping their friend and stumble across the mystery purely by chance. They find out more of what’s going on in the wider political world and several of them have to make decisions that will greatly affect their futures.
Sophronia has several major decisions to make in this book regarding her future: whether she likes Felix Mersey, whose father is a pickleman (a political position Sophronia abhors) enough to form an attachment with him; what kind of future relationship she wants with Soap, whose social standing is far beneath hers but whose advice and friendship she greatly appreciates; and what patron she wants when she graduates, as Lord Akeldama’s been sending her gifts in an attempt to sway her in his direction.
I personally found the action on the train less interesting than what happened before it. I love the school and the dynamic there, and was a bit sad that so much of the book took place off of it. Having said that, the train did show off the girls’ prowess and contained some fun action sequences.
I’m really looking forward to book 4, Manners & Mutiny, which I believe will conclude the series.