The Finishing School Series


Have you been wondering where I've been, dear readers? Wonder no more. This Christmas season I received from my bestie the entire (at press date) Finishing School series by Gail Carriger (of Parasol Protectorate fame) - and under peer pressure I read the entire thing (as quickly as my work schedule allowed). I debated on reviewing them each individually, but because I moved on from one to the next so quickly I didn't give myself time. Instead, I'm just going to review it as a whole - as I have the rare opportunity to.

Christmas Gifts from Jenee G.
Looking back at my reviews of the Parasol Protectorate books I'm a little horrified to see that I didn't love them as much as I remembered enjoying them. I guess the two feelings can mutually exclusive? I think of that series as a prototype for this one, however. I feel like Gail toyed around with some of the same ideas that she brought back in these books - and now honed them to perfection.

The Finishing School series is basically about a Victorian girls charm school, which sounds so quaint doesn't it? Well, they're also training to become assassins and spies. Picture it! Using handkerchiefs and sewing scissors for lethal weapons? Sounds pretty perfect to me. It has a beautifully droll sense of humor, which is more than enough to hook me, a series of badass girls and "evil genius" boys, foppish vampires, genteel werewolves, eccentric professors, cross-dressing, and a few more of my favorite things.
I absolutely don't want to give too much away, so at this point I just want to talk about my impressions. There aren't many characters in this series, which is fine (because once you read something like Game of Thrones you start to appreciate that) but one thing that I didn't like is that the minor characters didn't get a whole lot of chances to develop sooner. This series is going to be 4 books long and so far we have three, so that is something that stresses me out a bit. Naturally, the important characters do by the 3rd book, so that's what's important. Hopefully Carriger revisits some of them in later books. Failing that, this is ripe territory for fanfic writers - which I very much encourage. Part of the reason for this review is that this series has a very small fandom and that, to me, is so ridiculous. Please read this books and make lots of fanart and fanfics, everyone! Make all of the things, make it blow up. I want all the movies, video games, a TV series - I want this thing to never die, ya heard?
This series shares the same world (and sprinkling of some of the same characters) as the Parasol Protectorate books, but dated a few decades earlier. Like in Protectorate a lot of the names are nearly unpronounceable - something my friends and I have been debating back and fourth on. However, one of the beautiful things about Carriger's steam-punk world is that it isn't idealized and floofy like some proto-Victorian writers. One of the reasons I've been obsessed with the Victorians for most of my life is that they weren't always as genteel as we now seem to think. They were actually kind of horrifying sometimes. They may have been sexually repressed, but they compensated for it through other avenues - like a healthy obsession with what we today would consider outright macabre. These books don't include examples of this, at least nothing that high school librarians would picket against, but Carriger is aware of it. These books are anything but cutesy-poo.
Ah, now for the "shipping-wars." I'll reveal nothing of my own alignment on here, but you'll be tempted to pick sides and let me just say neither are bad choices. I made it very well known that I wasn't going to share my ships with my friends (because I didn't have one, really. It could go either way for me.) but the 3rd book ends in such a way, that... ugh... #1 whoever you choose, you'll be conflicted no matter what and #2 the 4th book isn't coming out until next November. All this tension and unresolved feelings has me like:
(too late)
Thankfully, Gail will be releasing a new book for a new series this March which I can't fuggin wait for. Maybe that will tide me over until then.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thoughts by Feast of Poetry & Drink of Prose. All rights reserved.
Blog design by Labina Kirby.