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Curtsies & Conspiracies  - Gail Carriger

This was a wonderfully fun second installment to the series. I liked that this volume gave further insight into the supernatural beings aboard the air ship. A huge part of Saphronia's life revolves around espionage, but an equally large portion of her time is spent learning proper etiquette to survive in high society. Learning about vampires and werewolves from this angle is something I've never seen in another book, and I thought that it was not only a fitting twist for Saphronia's training but it also gave another layer to Saphronia’s world and made the interactions between humans and the supernatural within the book more complex.

Some of the new characters introduced feel very two dimensional and more like plot devices than people. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by all the well developed characters like Sidheag and Dimnity, but even secondary characters should be given some sort of personality and voice. My least favorite of these new characters has got to be Felix and the half-developed love triangle he creates. This feels unnecessary and more like a distraction than anything else. The book would be better without him.

My only other issue with this book is the plot felt overly complicated at times, making it a bit hard to follow. We jump around between clues that ultimately come together and point to a conclusion, but the journey that is taken to ultimately get to the end is not smooth and not all the dots connect very well for me.

I'd also like to call out what a fantastic series this is to listen to on audiobook. The narrator does a wonderful job voicing each and every character, including appropriate French, American, British, and Scottish accents. Whether you're new to audiobooks and are looking for a place to get started or you are a seasoned audiobook listener, this is one you really should not miss.

Overall, this was a fine addition to the series. I do hope that in future volumes that the secondary characters are given a larger voice and more personality, and that the plot is easier to follow. I am excited to see what is in store next for Saphronia, Sidheag, and the rest of the gang. I’d recommend this series to fans of steampunk, espionage, and paranormal fiction.