Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk
Summary: Sophronia is 14, a troublemaker and decidedly not a lady, which is why her mother decides to send her to a distinguished finishing school. What Sophronia’s mother does not know and what Sophronia is about to find out is that this is not just any finishing school. Sure, she will finally learn how to properly curtsy, but she will also learn how to successfully hide a knife in the folds of her skirt. To tell the truth, Miss Geraldine’s Finishing School is actually in the business of turning out spies, and Sophronia thinks she just might have died and gone to troublemaker heaven.
My take: This book helped me realize an important truth about myself -steampunk novels would not be my first choice.* I struggled to get into this book, and even though I did hit a point where I couldn’t put it down, that wasn’t until page 250 or so (Whew). The plot does drag quite a bit and the main character was not all that surprising or different from other plucky, tom-boyish characters I’ve read before. In the case of this steampunk novel, everything felt forced and loud, like – “look at me! I’m different and weird! I’m taking things that don’t usually go together and mashing them together anyway!” That is probably unduly harsh, but was it necessary to include vampires and werewolves as well as mechanical maids, mechanimals and the like? It was just too much for my taste. I also took issue with the dialogue. For example, the vampire professor ends most of his sentences with “whot!” which, for some reason, was like fingernails on a chalkboard. On a positive note, I will say this about the book – I liked when the plot finally picked up near the end, I liked that I was wrong about who the “bad guy” might be and I love the cover.
The verdict: If you or someone you know is a fan of steampunk then give it a try! Anyone who enjoys a boarding school setting with crazy technology and ladies in large pinafores will enjoy this.
The rating: 4
Coming up next: Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
*I will admit that the exception to this statement is Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, though it did take me awhile to get into that one too.