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Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School) Hardcover – February 5, 2013
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I have been eagerly anticipating this first book in a new series by Gail Carriger, author of the fantastic The Parasol Protectorate series.
The book follows the exploits of 14 year old Sophronia Temminnick, a troublemaking youngest daughter of a middle class Victorian family. Not knowing what to do with a daughter interested in technology and books, her mother is only too happy to send her off to an exclusive finishing school. Except this finishing school teaches more than just deportment. It also teaches the arts of espionage and assassination.
This book has all the fun of the first Harry Potter novel; it shows an unsuspecting protagonist encountering a weird and wonderful boarding school, and, in fact, almost an entire new society of which she was previously unaware. So this book takes some pretty familiar "starting a new school" tropes and puts a nice spin on them. Sophonia is an extremely likeable character and her new school provides lots of opportunities for her to show off her daring.
This series takes place in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate series, but it's set several decades earlier, in the 1860s, I believe. So fans of that series will enjoy seeing some familiar characters pop up here and there. As for the steampunk elements, while I tend to think of the Parasol Protectorate as a predominantly supernatural series set in a steampunk world, this series seems to be a steampunk series set in a supernatural world. Meaning that this series seems to involve a lot more technology in more important roles than the previous series. There are also vampires and werewolves, but the supernatural elements don't drive the main plot and are pretty much incidental.Read more ›
It's set in the same world, I think somewhat before the PP series, and focuses more on intrigue and steampunk, and less on the vamps and weres.
Plus- as an American who went to local public schools, I have always ADORED boarding-school fiction! And a boarding school on an airship??? with the companion school for boys devoted to developing Evil Geniuses??? What's not to love?
OK, the kids don't Save The World. What kids really can expect to? but they do rise to their challenges, outwit the adults, and have a grand time doing it.
A good ending, but with enough threads left that #2 can pick up nicely.
I think a lot of Harry Potter fans could love this, if they're OK with the focus being on GIRLS (the horror!).
Highly recommended. And for YA's, too!
I'm a pretty firm believer that you don't have to change your style/writing much (if at all) when you change age levels - there's no need to "write down" to kids (especially in this case, as the Parasol Protectorate series was a highly popular cross-over - Pretty much remove the steamy Victorian sexytimes and you're good to go). But the beginning of the book seemed like Carriger was going to write down to her audience and point things out in a really obtrusive way (as if they couldn't possibly put things together all on their own...), and that has got to be my number one I-will-throw-you-against-the-wall-you-just-see-if-I-don't pet peeve. Even as a kid, I found it highly insulting; you've got to have faith in your audience, and faith in yourself as a storyteller that you're doing fine - you don't have to handhold, and if you do feel the need to, you're not telling it right. But either the handholding was just a brief blip, or I got used to it, because the rest of the book slipped into the quirky, upper-crusty, hilariously Missish storytelling I'd grown to love in the Parasol Protectorate.Read more ›
Sophronia is my kind of girl! She was fearless when it came to asking questions and getting answers. I admired that in her so much. In the midst of her life being turned upside down, she stayed true to herself. She makes Etiquette & Espionage such a fun read with her refreshing characteristics. All of the secondary characters were wonderful, too! I was blown away with the way that Gail Carriger wrote all of them. They were all unique individuals and I loved every single one of them. (Except Monique. She's up to no good. Guarantee it.)
Gosh, can I just gush about how fun Etiquette & Espionage was? It was just a really good book. It was so easy to get lost in the world of Mademoiselle Geraldine's. It reminded me a lot of how it felt to get lost in the world of Harry Potter way back when. It required me to be present while reading, but it was just so fun. I know I need a new word, but that's really what this book was for me. It was an adventure!
With just one book, Gail Carriger has converted me. I'm already crossing my fingers that Santa fills my stocking with the rest of her books. The world of Sophronia and Mademoiselle Geraldine's is a world that I loved visiting and I can't wait to visit again!
**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a delightful mix of Victorian mechanical objects and training women to be spies and assassins There were also werevoles and vampires in the mix. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Diane Shallue
Gail Carriger can blend genres like nobody's business. This mixture of steampunk, fantasy and comedy of manners will have you begging for more. This is a set you must own. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Charlotte Walker
Review first published on jenasbookreviews.blogspot.com
Ms. Sophrnia Temminick is a 14 year old trial to her mother. Read more
Fun and cute, but don't read this looking for depth. The story and characters are extremely simplistic. Struck me as more Middle Grade than YA. Read morePublished 18 days ago by StephTKO
That was a fun read; like nothing I've read before! The writing has the feel of a classic, but brings to mind images of Lemony Snicket or Nanny McPhee. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Amy Slager
I am a huge fan of this entire series. Gail Carriger is an amazing writer. I love how all of her characters are so well developed and interesting. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Sharon L Blinstrubas
Started off a little slow and a little hard to follow (maybe because the character's names are so strange and the world we're being introduced to isn't really described in much... Read morePublished 29 days ago by HonestReviewer
I highly enjoyed this novel which combines steampunk with espionage and intrigue. Highly recommended to anyone with a love of adventure and mischief.Published 1 month ago by LucyBeE
Excellently Crafted. Couldn't put it down. Finishing School is by far my favorite Gail Carriger series. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mini-purl