CBR11 BINGO: So It Begins
This novel is a re-read for me. I am a huge fan of Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocolseries. However, her shift to YA in the Finishing School series set prior to the shenanigans in the Parasol Protectorate books didn’t really do it for me. To appeal to a younger audience, Carriger dialled down her hallmark cheeky sexual innuendo and unfortunately some of her witty banter and sass went along with it.
I recently read Carriger’s latest and supposedly last full length novel set in the “Parasol-verse” (Reticence). Several main characters from the Finishing School series resurface in this final book and my curiosity was piqued by their reappearance. My completionist tendencies also got the better of me so I thought I would give this series another go. Maybe I would get more out of it this time?
This first book in the Finishing School series follows the journey of fourteen year-old Miss Sophronia Angela Temminnick as she becomes a “covert recruit” to a ladies finishing school for assassins. Whisked from her mother’s parlor to a floating dirigible that holds classes ranging from proper curtsies to precisely measuring poisons, Sophronia is at a disadvantage to the other girls who have been raised in preparation for Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Fortunately, Miss Temminnick catches on quickly to these new skill sets which comes in handy as she tries to solve the mystery of the missing “prototype” that everyone from flywaymen to Picklemen are desperate to find.
While I do still think that Carriger tempers the sass more than she needs to for a YA audience, I think I had a better appreciation for the book this time. Having read a bit about these characters as adults, it was nice to see where they came from. In any event, I plan to see it through the next three books at some point and I’ll let you all know how it goes. For folks that haven’t read any of the Carriger’s “Parasol-verse” books yet, it may be that starting with the Finishing School series will make for a better read since you get to follow the events chronologically.