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I couldn’t wait to start this book and was so excited to be approved for a review copy.

The whole espionage finishing school premise made me have super high expectations. I usually don’t enjoy steampunk, but I love spy school type books.

Overall I rate this book a 3. The first half was hard to read, get into, understand the world. I haven’t read the Parasol Protectorate books, and I didn’t realize it was a YA spin off. It might help understand the world, people, language and motivation more if you did read that series, but what I gather from other reviews, is that the series aren’t really linked.

The second half of the book was much better than the first, and the last quarter had the action, suspense, excitement I’d been looking for in the whole book. I hope that the next book will start AND end with a bang, now that we have been introduced to the characters and world.

I was hoping for more about the school, lessons, and purpose. We learn that students “finish” (or not), but not what happens after, what their missions could be, or what the general purpose of the school is. And I’m very curious why Mademoiselle Geraldine does not know the truth about what goes on at her school.

Final verdict:

3 stars, because it started off a bit slow and left too many questions open. But I do want to read the next book and see if the great last quarter of the book can carry through the whole next book.