This has been one of my favorite series in recent years – mostly due to the Audible narration, which is superb. Sadly, this completes the Finishing School, though of course there are many other books in this world to explore. I found the denouement here fun and consistent with the previous books and definitely smiled/chuckled as much throughout. This is by no means perfect – but great fun regardless. And the ending segues perfectly into the Parasol Protectorate series.
Sophronia is still frustrated – both by developments at her school and also to the nature of her relationship with Soot. But the picklemen have become daring and look to be one step away from hatching their plans to take over the world!
So yes, mustache twirling bad girls and their nefarious schemes! The whole series has been fun but it really is a very inspired Audible version narration that elevates this and the other books so immensely. If anyone had ever wondered how a narration can make a book better, they should definitely check out the Finishing School series. There were so many witticisms that I would have missed otherwise but the narrator was able to voice perfectly. As well, many subtleties and nuances from the writing that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.
As with so many steampunk-inspired stories, I found the romance cloying and getting in the way of a great story. Ironic, really, because I am a heavy romance reader and typically prefer them in my books. Sophronia’s romance with Soot was well done and I appreciated the growth arc given to both characters. But it was the steamships and evil geniuses that made the story for me.
In all, a wonderful set of books that I thoroughly enjoyed. And one of the best narrations to be found in that category as well.