Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: February 5, 2013 (hardcover)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC received at Second Annual Ontario Blog Squad Meet-Up
Overall: 5 Stars
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.
Set almost 25 years before her adult Parasol Protectorate series, Gail Carriger explodes onto the YA stage with her debut Etiquette & Espionage. With Carriger's witty and humorous writing style, the novel is simply irresistible and impossible not to like. Etiquette & Espionage combines the best elements of steampunk and the supernatural together in a way that's refreshingly exciting to read from the very first page!
Much to her mother's exasperation, Sophronia Temminnick loves to explore and ask questions, rather than dress up and act accordingly in polite society. When Sophronia's latest escapade leads to embarrassment, Mrs. Temminnick ships her daughter off to Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality hoping she'll be reformed and return back as a proper young lady. Sophronia is less than thrilled to leave home... that is, until she realizes Mademoiselle Geraldine's is no ordinary finishing school.
Sophronia is such an awesome heroine! When she finds herself in a tricky or dangerous situation, she doesn't wait to be rescued like a damsel in distress. She readily adapts to her surroundings and finds a solution on her own with her quick-thinking, inquisitive mind, but also doesn't underestimate the power of teamwork either. Sophronia may not be a legacy like the other girls in her first-year class, but she's an absolute natural and eager learner in all the methods of etiquette and espionage. The young ladies are encouraged to embrace their feminine strengths and use it as a source of power. Could a man ever curtsy with grace and poise while throwing a dagger at their target at the same time? I sure don't think so!
There wasn't any romance in Etiquette & Espionage, but the book honestly didn't need it anyways; Sophronia's budding friendships with her new school friends play a much more important role. She's never been particularly close with her siblings, so she's happy to finally have friends who share her not so common interests, and better yet, they accept her as she is. Soon enough, Sophronia's motley crew includes an inventor, an evil genius in training, a sootie from the boiler room, and a best friend who faints at the sight of blood. And she's going to need all the help she can get to prevent a mechanical device falling into the wrong hands....
Gail Carriger's Etiquette & Espionage is a fantastic introduction to the Finishing School series! I hope other publishers are taking notice because I'd love to read more YA books just like it. I absolutely can't wait to find out what sort of adventure is in store next for Sophronia in Curtsies & Conspiracies, the second novel in the series!
Thanks so much to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing this review copy! You can also check out the book trailer below and visit the official Finishing School website to learn more about the series!
Giveaway! I have an extra ARC of Gail Carriger's Etiquette & Espionage, so I'm giving it away to a lucky follower!
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