Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Etiquette and Espionage


Title: Etiquette and Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 5, 2013


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 the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.

My Thoughts:

What a pleasant surprise this book was! I've always thought steampunk was cool, but this is my first time reading a steampunk novel. I love it! The idea of Victorian manners mixed with cool inventions and dangerous airship!

I loved out heroine, Sophronia. She's a rough-around-the-edges tomboy living in a world of fancy balls and proper manners. From the first scene with her riding in a dumbwaiter, I was hooked. She's the kind of character I can really connect with: clever, resourceful, a good friend and not completely obsessed with boys.

And speaking of boys, I love Soap as well. He was just so likeable and I can't wait to see how differing social status is going to throw a wrench in his and Sophronia's friendship. I also loved the friends that Sophronia made along the way. Dimity and Vieve and even Sidheag. I also can't wait to see more of Captain Niall!

As well as loving the steampunk setting of this novel, I also liked the small additions of supernatural aspects: vampires and werewolves. I like that they didn't take over the story, but I thought they were a good addition. On another note, this book was so good that I went ahead and ordered the box set of the Parasol Protectorate.

On the Cover:

I love this cover. I love Victorian era costumes and the steampunk background is very cool!

Rating: 5 Hearts

Source: I received an ecopy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

Find the Book: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Find the Author: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


I found out a couple days ago that Gail Carriger is planning to come to my city in November for the Pure Speculation con! So excited! Plus, my box set of the Parasol Protectorate arrived today! I'll likely go and I'd love to dress up as one of her characters, potentially Monique.


  1. I've been excited about her books for a long time now. I can't wait to read this one (or her Parasol series) I love the sound from Sophronia; she has everything I look for in a MC. The steam punk setting with some paranormal creatures is great :D Awesome review!


  2. Oh fun! I am starting this one today so seeing your raving review has me pretty excited! I love how the MC sounds so down to Earth!

  3. I agree that this book was a pleasant surprise! It was my first read by Gail Carriger and I so wasn't disappointed! And you're right -- Soap was a great character! I can't wait to continue on with this series. It was just so much fun!

  4. I'm glad that you really enjoyed this one! I'm super excited to buy a copy. It sounds absolutely amazing and I've never read any steampunk before.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian