Book Review: Etiquette and Espionage

Book Review: Etiquette and EspionageEtiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on February 5th 2013
Pages: 320
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It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education. Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore.

Etiquette and Espionage is the first in a new series by Gail Carriger, who wrote the Soulless series for adults, which I also adore that they made manga versions of those books. Sophronia is the lead of this new series, a fourteen year old girl whose mother is sending her away to finishing school. Little does she know that she is actually attending school to become a spy of sorts. Sophronia still learns all the proper ways to curtsy and dance, but learns a great deal more about deceit and espionage.

From the beginning of Etiquette and Espionage, I was drawn into the world of Victorian London with a steampunk feel. I love that there are supernatural creatures, along with inventions, set  in one of my favorite time periods. The school itself floats and was an interesting building, having the teachers wing off-limits unless with a teacher and mechanical maids that would alert to intrusions. Not only was Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality a fun place to explore, but I loved the boys’ school as well, which was to promote evil geniuses and their work.

Sophronia is an interesting character, she comes from a poorer family and she’s one of the few girls that doesn’t have family in the business of spying at the school. Instead of getting newer clothes, she has hand me downs from older sisters and is constantly worrying about how last season they are. That being said, she rises above it all and even befriends some lower characters, according to the girls and society. I found some of the most interesting characters were the side ones that helped Sophronia with her different problems and adventures.

Since I read this in audiobook version, I must say I have found a new narrator that I love – Moira Quirk. I may look into listening to some of the other books she has narrated, but they are of adult nature so we’ll see. She did the voices wonderfully and really brought to life the story and characters. I especially love her Mademoiselle Geraldine voice, so wonderful.

Since this is the first in a series, I’m planning on reading the next one soon (on audiobook as well). Etiquette and Espionage has an immense amount of things that I loved – from the setting, to characters and the action involved in the story. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next book in the series holds for our dear Sophronia and her companions.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Etiquette and Espionage

  1. I love this series, as well as Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series 🙂 Great review!

    ~I found your blog through the Bout of Books RAT and I’m now following through bloglovin 🙂

  2. Alyn Y

    I loved this book and the second one too! I’ll have to look at her other books while I wait for the third one.

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