Series: Finishing School #1
Published by Hachette Audio, Little Brown Books for Young Readers on February 5, 2013
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
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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.