The Finishing School series is one of my favourite middle-grade series. That title goes to A Girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making, but this series is extremely good even in what is, in my opinion, its worst installment. Waistcoats and Weaponry is a good book and it's worth four stars for sure, but at the same time I think it pales a little if compared to Etiquette and Espionage.
What makes Waistcoats and Weaponry weaker than the rest of the series is the romance. There isn't a lot of romance to be honest, but more like a lot of confusion about the actual love interest. I did not like to see Sophronia, who I have come to see as a strong, clever girl, so...confused about her feelings. And I certainly did not like to see her playing with the boys' feelings. It's quite obvious that she likes flirting with one of them, which is fine, if there weren't real relationships at stake because of that. Hurting a boy who you know has feelings for you and then thinking that maybe you like him too is a bit shallow. Make up your mind girl.
So if you love this series you are going to love Waistcoats and Weaponry. It is a great third book, it is action packed and fast paced. A couple of things that I do appreciate about this series is the humor, and I will say I totally adore the finishing school. Young girls learning to be intelligence operatives, and assassin skills just rocks. I cannot rave about that enough. So while I freely admit that this series doesn’t seem to be for me, I refuse to say bad things about these books, because the writing is witty, the world building is great and the characters are amazing.
Steampunk Chronicle announced its 2015 Readers Choice Awards. Readers named Gail Carriger’s Waistcoats and Weaponry the best YA steampunk novel of the year.