Book: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School (book 1)
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.
This book is pretty interesting. The title itself is intriguing, who would think to mix etiquette with espionage? I mean everyone knows they are two completely different worlds! I have a habit of rarely (if ever) reading reviews of books I plan on reading (those I’m looking through online is another case altogether) so I had no idea what to expect when I first started reading.
So, this book could have been better if I am to be honest about it. This is my first steampunk novel so I have no idea how the rest of the genre is (although I wish to explore more). So genre aside, it just felt unreal at some points. Like when the headmistress comes to collect Sophronia and asks her questions that would be pointless because of a) her age and b) her background. There are other times when the syllabus at the academy seems highly peculiar and completely unnecessary.
Minor issues aside, I really did like the book. It was interesting…with werewolves, vampires, and mechanimals (oh my!). The concept of the mechanimals (robotic animals that are just adorable!) I also liked how it pretty much states that becoming a lady does not mean giving up the non-ladylike aspect of you- it means concealing that part in the required crowd. I am eagerly finding the rest of the series to read.
Read it in one go…or break it up. This book is pretty light reading so it really doesn’t matter how you read it. I for one read it one Sunday morning while waiting for my roommate to wake up so that we could go and grab some lunch. It is about a 14-year-old, but it’s a book I wouldn’t mind my younger sister reading. Probably wouldn’t suggest it for someone say 8-10 years old, though.
–As always, comment below to tell me what you think and whether or not you’ll read it…or have read it–
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