Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage
(Finishing School #1)

Author: Gail Carriger

Publication Date: February 5th 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Steampunk / Paranormal



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 the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

My Thoughts: Steampunk? Paranormal? Assassins in training? Yes please! I knew after reading the synopsis for Etiquette & Espionage that I had to read it. I happen to be a huge fan of boarding school settings, as well as steampunk (Victorian Era?! Yay!). So having two of these things was a definite must read for me. Having the vampire and werewolf thrown in there was an added bonus. Now I have actually not read any of Gail Carriger's other works. You can bet I will be now though!

The protagonist, Sophronia, is a girl that just wants to have a little bit of fun. Mostly in ways that girls shouldn't be having fun, but fun for her nonetheless. She has many siblings and she drives her mother crazy. So when given the chance to send her daughter to finishing school, she hops on the chance. Sophronia is not at all pleased with this decision, that is until she learns that Mademoiselle Geraldine's is not your ordinary finishing school. Here they are teaching girls to become intellegencers and assassins. Sophronia decides that this won't be too bad after all.

Sophronia is a very like able character. She seems to be very open minded to everything and quite quick to come up with a plan to solve any problems. She asks a lot of questions and her curiosity for the way things work never seems to run out. She doesn't care about the colour of your skin or if you are a creature of the night, she won't judge you based off of that. A lot of the time I forgot she was only 14 years old, she seems a bit older most of the time. Although, she would sometimes do something that reminded you that she is still only young. She seems to have a knack for making both friends and enemies. Rarely follows the rules (it seems she believes that rules are there to be broken) and is just overall an interesting character.

As for the school, it seems like a fun enough place to go. It floats and travels around. There are tons of very interesting classes and it seems to run on the type of schedule that I'd like (I'm a night owl). I found it very amusing that the only one who didn't know what was actually being taught at the school was Mademoiselle Geraldine, the headmistress, who is under the impression that it is just a regular finishing school. If only she knew..

There is a fair amount of action going on in this book, not as much as some might like, but some. There is an prototype that one of the students (Monique) has hidden off campus. An item that she was supposed to be retrieving for the school. Because she failed to bring it in, she is demoted to a debut again and despises Sophronia. She is someone that Sophronia really has to watch out for since she is out to get her.

All in all, it's a very enjoyable read and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next one. It was a bit slow in places, which made it a bit harder to get through for me, but I can understand that these things needed to happen. If you are a fan of Gail Carriger, boarding school settings or steampunk, I highly recommend you check this one out. It's a fun read!


  1. Yay! I'm so glad you liked this one! I thought it was great fun. :) And the school sounds like so much fun! I really look forward to the next one in the series!

    1. Yeah, I'm going to definitely be reading the next one! It would be a fun school to go

  2. I haven't read any Gail Carriger, either, but this book is already on my TBR list. Thanks to your review, I'm bumping it a bit higher up the list!

    1. Yay! Darn TBR lists, always being long! I just read Throne of Glass, which I had pre-ordered.. It just sat there forever! I hope you enjoy this one when you get to it!


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