2015 · 3 Stars · Book Reviews · Science Fiction · Steampunk · Young Adult

Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carriger





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 they 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.


This is the first book by this author that I have read and Gail Carriger has a wonderful way of really setting a book. You really feel like you are right there. I hate to admit that I messed up by reading a bunch of reviews on this book before reading it, and I shouldn’t have. My expectations were just so high and during the first third of the book I was not super impressed. Sophronia really felt flat to me and it took me longer than I want to admit to warm up to her. After the first third of the book it really did begin to pick up the pace, and I found myself racing to the next page. I was so happy because I was almost positive that it was going to be a Did-Not-Finish book. But, since I hate not finishing a book I plowed on. THANK GOODNESS! It really picked up steam and got to the point that I wanted to finish it that same night.

Most of the characters seemed iffy. They were all just so hot and cold. One minute you are like “Ya, this chick rocks!” Then the next thing you know it’s “But…. why would you do that, are you 9?” But thankfully that didn’t happen too often.
Soap was my favorite character. He has so few really good parts but seems to have instant depth. I really wish he had been around more.

I think my favorite quote from the book would have to be:
“They’ll do a schoolwide sweep.” Then he pointed to a nearby broom sharing the closet with them. “Sweep. Ha.”

Don’t ask me why (probably because it was so late from staying up to finish the book) but I laughed so hard it scared my cat and made my boyfriend look at me like I was crazy. It just hit my funny bone perfectly.

I haven’t decided if I am going to read the rest of the series or not. I might try a book from her other (more adult) series, Parasol Protectorate. But overall, it was a good enough book, and I am glad that I read it.

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