Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

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.

I'm not a huge fan of steampunk, but in combination with the espionage school plot point, I rather enjoyed this book.

In Etiquette & Espionage, Sophronia is sent by her mother to a finishing school so that she may learn to be a proper lady. The finishing school, however, is not your average finishing school. There, Sophronia learns the finer art of being an intelligencer. This new knowledge will come in handy when flywaymen come knocking at the school door for a prototype that could revolutionize their world.

This book was quite fun for me to read. The cadence and language used had the voice in my head speaking with an English accent. There were also plenty of funny lines that had me smiling and smirking, which was great. I appreciate books that can make me laugh without much effort through forced jokes.

As for the plot itself, there were a few plot points that I was able to figure out ahead of time, and there were times wherein the plot felt a little raw, but I get the feeling that this sort of easy pitch is just meant to lay the groundwork for future novels.

As for the characters, I liked Sophronia and Dimity enough, although probably not as well as I could have. There were a few characters I ended up liking that I didn't expect to like as much as I did though. I found that I liked Vieve and Pillover a lot. They're the kind of kids that I would have befriended in elementary and high school. I also liked Soap. I'm still figuring out who Sophronia's love interest will be. Right now, I'm thinking it could be Soap, that Piston rake-in-training, or even Captain Niall. I'm curious to see how things will turn out.

I decided to give this book four stars instead of three because I think the series has very good potential.


  1. There are plenty of funny lines.
  2. The premise is intriguing.
  3. The characters are generally likable.


  1. Some of the plot twists were easy to predict.

“If there is gossip to be garnered, garner it. If there are new dress styles to be imitated, imitate them. If there are hearts to be broken, break them. That's my girls.” 
  1. You like steampunk.
  2. You like books about female spies.
  3. You like books with strong heroines.




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