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Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger

A review by Nalini Haynes

Manners & Mutiny is Finishing School book 4, preceded by Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies and Conspiracies and Waistcoats and Weaponry. Sophronia is back in the enormous dirigible school, floating over the moor and attending a ball with Bunson’s, the school for boys training to be evil geniuses. And that is just the beginning.

Crises upon crises

Each chapter is labeled a “crisis” up until “Crisis (No More)” and the Afterword, and with good reason. The trouble begins with the girls switching personalities at the ball as an assignment. While Sophronia pretends to be her friend Agatha hiding behind the potted plants, she meets her former beaux, Lord Felix Mersey. She hasn’t forgiven him for his betrayal. She also catches up with Vieve LeFoux masquerading as a boy to attend Bunson’s.

Here’s some Carriger prepared earlier (spoiler alert for previous books)

In Waistcoats & Weaponry, the Picklemen hijacked all Britain’s mechanicals in a dastardly scheme now referred to as the Opera Incident. Many people in the know are fearful that the Picklemen are still plotting to take over the country. This fear is exacerbated when the Picklemen replace valves in mechanicals around the country. The supernatural set — vampires and werewolves — oppose the mechanicals. Society interprets their reaction as supernatural superiority and, perhaps, spite.

Former sooty and now newly-made werewolf Soap appears to warn Sophronia and demand kisses in the nearly-full-moon light. Sophronia refuses him, worried about society’s view of their scandalous relationship but Soap wins his kisses when stress forces him to turn and Vieve tells Sophronia kisses will help Soap revert to human.

Soap is much more forward and persistent in this novel, making Manners & Mutiny far more romantic. Although swinging around the dirigible while floating over the moor is hardly a fit occupation for a Victorian-era aspiring debutante like Sophronia. Nor is stuffing coal and notes between her breasts seemly but Sophronia’s gentlemen admirers don’t seem to mind. Plus dresses without pockets give her little alternative.

The verdict

Manners & Mutiny is another of Gail Carriger’s highly successful adventure comedy romance steampunk fantasy novels. M&M concludes the Finishing School series with a bang and an excellent roundup of what becomes of the survivors.

One of Carriger’s many strengths is leaving us wanting more then beginning a new series with fresh characters. The balance of tension, comedy and romance is fabulous. I’ve been hanging out for the next Custard Protocol book since I finished the last delicious snack; Carriger keeps me wanting more. I highly recommend all her novels.

Gail Carriger is a delightful guest in this podcast. This article was updated on 11 June 2023 to meet SEO whims and add the link to the podcast.

Book details

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
ISBN: 9781907411595
Format: paperback, 320 pages
Imprint: Atom (Hachette)

Manners & Mutiny cover: a woman in Victorian garb holds a crossbow. NYT bestseller sticker

Nalini
Nalinihttps://www.darkmatterzine.com
Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.

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