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Review: Etiquette & Espionage

by Gail Carriger

10874177 pamsfour

“Dimity, we are missing something.”
“On board? Decent cheese.” suggested Dimity – page 225

Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Book: 1 of Finishing School
Genre: Steampunk, Teen
Found: Through her other series
Rating: 4 Voodoos

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.


So this is a re-read, a recap for book 2. I loved it just as much the second time around. I do love these characters and I will certainly need to read her other series through (so far I’ve only read the first).
Certainly this one seems to be more of a teen series next to the more YA/NA target of The Parasol Protectorate. Perhaps to capture a younger audience and thus guide them into the other series? It’s certainly likely to happen. Though, the protagonist of this is but 13 whereas Alexia of Parasol Protectorate is and aged spinster of 26.

I’ve always thought that ladies were often underutilised, certainly even today no one expects a pretty young thing to be clever too and it was clearly an oversight on someone’s part not to use this to their advantage throughout history (unless some ultra-clever sod DID and we simply don’t know of it because they were highly successful). This book clearly agrees with me and has set this to rights, abet in faux Victorian London.

I can’t wait to read about Sophronia’s next adventures and I’m interested to see how the series tie together. I do hope it’s more than just a name here and there.



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