Book: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)
Author: Gail Carriger
Genre(s): steampunk, fantasy, young adult/teen, adventure, science fiction, humor
Description from Goodreads:
“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.”
I’m a fan of Ms. Carriger’s since I came across the Parasol Protectorate series (or, Soulless series, as most people know it); once I learned this series was coming out, I sort of put it on the back-burner. I didn’t want anything to sully the relationship I had developed with Lady Maccon and Mme. LeFoux. I put off reading this until I was searching high and low for a new book, and realized this had been in my collection. I read it in a matter of a few days.
It took me a few chapters to get into it – I’m not sure if I was just resisting, or if I was trying to read too late at night. It felt at first like it was just an effort to ride the wave of popularity and keep with the Victorian/Steampunk theme that’s become so popular…but as I kept reading, I really grew to like the characters and was pleasantly surprised by the introduction of a few of them (names withheld to avoid spoilage).
I quickly warmed up to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, and those in attendance. I secretly (or not so secretly as it may turn out) wish I too could attend, however I fear I may be similar to Agatha. I do believe I finished the remaining half of the book in one night – and promptly started on the next installment.
I would recommend this if you enjoyed the Parasol Protectorate series, and I LOVE that you aren’t required to read that before starting this series. There is action, adventure, covert shenanigans…and a few paranormal beings sprinkled in for good measure. It is a fun read, and I like that this would be suitable for a younger audience as well – no romance, no language, minimal violence, etc.
I happily bestow 4 martinis to this lovely first installment. Cheers!