Author: Gail Carriger
Release date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Reading level: YA
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 & Espionage, Gail Carriger's first book for teens, is a fun-filled ride from the very start. The world of the Parasol Protectorate series tranfers seamlessly for the young adult genre and fans won't be able to get enough.
The cast of characters is completely wild and crazy. Sophronia is far from a lady which is why she is sent to finishing school. However, what she doesn't know is that it's a very different kind of finishing they have in mind. With her quirky ways, crazy climbing abilities, and knack for finding things out, she fits right in. Her best friend at the school, Dimity, is just as quirky as Sophronia but in very different ways. Dimity is obsessed with fashion, faints at the sight of blood, and has a tendency to blabber on. These might seem to be bad qualities in a spy but Dimity makes them work for her. Then ther are Sidheag and Agatha. They are both rather shy for most of the book so readers don't get to see their greatness until closer to the end but they certainly are great. By far though my favorite characters were Vieve and Soap. These two are quite the individuals. Vieve was so cute and funny. Soap was sweet, kind of awkward, and super helpful. These two might not have been in training to be spies like the girls were but they certainly had their ways.
The world was fascinating. I have not read the Parasol Protectorate series so this was my first encounter with this world. It was a great mix of the paranormal, steampunk, and historical. There were werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and more. On top of that there were fantastical mechanical creatures such as Bumbersnoot, a mechanimal dog that Sophronia adopted rather early in the book. And yes, I did say mechanimal. The technologies were wonderful and let me just tell you, you won't be able to read this book and not want a Bumbersnoot of your own. I thought all of these things were a fun mix with the hint of historical thrown in.
The plot is just kind of fun. It's not really that serious (not life or death) but it's enough to keep readers hooked from the very beginning. With the characters, the world, and the wonderful writing, readers don't really need a super fast-paced plot to enjoy this one. There is a bit of a mystery and while most of it is tied up neatly at the end of the book, there are some questions that I assume will be answered in the following books in the series. There's just enough left hanging to leave readers wanting more.
Overall, Etiquette & Espionage has made me eager to read Gail Carriger's adult book. The writing, the characters, the story, and the world all add together to make one completely fabulous read for all ages. I highly recommend picking this one up as soon as you can!
Looking for more reviews of Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger?
Etiquette & Espioage - Book 1
Curtsies & Conspiracies - Book 2 - November 2013
Untitled - Book 3
Untitled - Book 4