Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage               
(Finishing School #1)
by Gale Carriger
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Goodreads summary:
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. Temminick 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.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

What I thought:
What an outrageously ridiculous, hilarious, and sweet read! I loved it! I didn't realize, for some reason, that this was a steampunk novel. Even more so, I didn't realize it was also paranormal. What a pleasant surprise! I've only read a few of those so I can't say how this rates as far as in that genre. However, I can say that this is one of the funnest books I've read in a while. Even the more serious parts, weren't really serious. I mean how could they be when the characters were making hilarious assumptions or were in hilarious fixes (i.e. a young man stuck half under a sticky net and half under Sophronia's petticoat - what? Exactly!)? Half the characters names alone made me laugh.

Let me share one insightful moment from Miss Sophronia: "Monique, instead of striking out in the manner of Sidheag, stepped in toward the werewolf. She commented on the pleasantness of the night and the beauty of the countryside. She fluttered her eyelashes in a way Sophronia had come to recognize as very advanced. I should never have thought there would be a time when I would envy another girl's eyelash manipulation." You see they are being taught to properly flutter their eyelashes as only you would learn in a finishing school and the girls are half in love with the werewolf, thus the envy that tom-boyish Sophronia experiences. :)

I absolutely loved Sophronia's character! I loved how she thought; stating things in such a matter-of-fact way and how she made connections from observation. Quite an intriguing mind. She also comes across as straight forward, even though some underestimate her.

I do wish I would have gotten just a little bit more information on the story-book world. I wasn't completely sure exactly why things were as they were with the whole aether and such. However, this wasn't a huge influence on the story, so it still worked.

I will definitely be recommending this to my teenage niece and to anyone else who enjoys an intelligent MC and witty dialogue or is a fan of Ally Carter. The characters are in their early teens, but I'm guessing they'll grow up a little as the series progresses, which I will definitely be following!

Content: Clean
Genre: YA Steampunk
Publication date: February 5th 2013 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

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