Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

March 10, 2015 3.5 stars, Book Review 12 ★★★½

Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail CarrigerEtiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Published by Hachette Audio, Little Brown Books for Young Readers on February 5, 2013
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 307
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
My Reviews in this series: Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats & Weaponry

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.


Where young girls are trained to be even more devious

Etiquette & Espionage was quite a bit of fun in a very similar way that the Parasol Protectorate books were. They share the same universe, a few characters but mostly the style of storytelling is peppered with the same type of mad dashes of action between the slower paced yet often comical scenes of the book. Young Sophronia, our heroine is a 14 year old trouble maker who for her time I would guess could be considered quite a to boy. She likes to read, explore and take things a part and put them back together. She is covertly recruited to attend the elite Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality that unbeknownst to her teaches finishing in a whole different way.

On the younger end of the YA spectrum

I must admit I had made assumptions based on the cover that this would be on the more mature end of the young adult genre but found it was actually closer to the middle grade fiction end, as the heroine is only 14. I assume this was done so that each book can see the heroine grow up by another year. If I am right then. I am definitely looking forward to that.

A few things that stood out to me
– it featured exactly what the title implied, a Finishing school on Etiquette & Espionage which taking place in Victorian London gave it plenty of comedic value
– the main character Sophronia greatly resembled in character/personality traits Alexia from the Parasol Protectorate
– at least two characters appear in this book that readers will likely recognize from the Parasol Protectorate books
– there is way more of a focus on steampunk gadgetry in this series so far then there was in the adult series. dirigibles, automatons all over the place, more inventions and even pets to name a few things
– for some reason the steampunk technology seems to be more advanced in this book and time period even tho these books supposedly take place I am thinking at least 30 years BEFORE the Parasol Protectorate books
– I found it funny to try to count how many times decolletage (you know a lady’s bosom) was mentioned
– a decided lack of romance or any romantic relationships period which was very surprising for a young adult novel
– an enjoyable mix of the classes and lovely to see that only one each of the vampire and werewolf species are represented here.

Why of course I’ll need more schooling mumsy

While I did find the plot to be a tad thin and leaning closer to the middle grade fiction side in Etiquette & Espionage, it was still oodles of fun and I look forward to continuing the trilogy to see what other madcap adventures Sophronia has in store for her.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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12 Responses to “Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger”

  1. Melliane

    Ah this book… I confess that I was a bit disappointed by it. It was nice but I wasn’t that attracted you know… So in the end I haven’t read the others, maybe one day but for now I don’t feel the urge.
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  2. Lynn

    I don’t know why but for some reason I was expecting these books to be set after The Parasol Protectorate – clearly I don’t pay enough attention!
    I still have the last of the Alexia books to finish so maybe I will take a look at this after I finish that series. Not keen to start a whole new series if I don’t finish the first one!
    I do quite like the idea of the main character growing up as you read the books.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…If you like ‘??’ (insert your favourite reading material) you’ll love this!My Profile

  3. Brandi Breathes Books

    decolletage is also a word that mary kay consultants use a lot. LOL. I have seen this one around but the relative lack of romance might turn me off on a subgenre I am iffy about.

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I’ve heard tons of wonderful things about this series and the Parasol Protectorate series but I have yet to read either. The humor and action appeal to me quite a bit though so I know I’ll be reading both hopefully in the near future. From what I’ve read on the sequels to this book^^ the characters do grow and mature with each new book so the MC will be maturing as the story progresses 😀 I can’t wait to see how you do with the rest of the series! Awesome review!
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