Review – Etiquette & Espionage

etiquetteEtiquette & Espionage (Finishing School # 1)

by Gail Carriger

This was a cute, super fun YA steampunk. Sophronia is a mess and a bunch of trouble to her poor mother.  Before she knows it, she is shipped off to finishing school to clean up her act and become more of a lady.  What neither of them realize is that this is a finishing school for spies.  Ooh yes!  All of her sneaking about and getting into trouble will actually pay off, they are going to teach her to do it but while looking fashionable.

So this is a younger YA book. Sophronia is 14 and it is during Victorian times, so there is an innocence there.  While there are vampires and werewolves and such, the influence of those types is minimal, but they do exist. I wonder if this is the same world as Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, it seems to be but I have only read one of those so I am unsure. The whole book is cute and “affected”. Instead of book one, it is “book the first” and if there is a wonky way of saying something, Carriger does reviving words like reticule instead of bag.

She looked around, “Anyone know how to pick a lock?” “Some intelligencer you are,” complained Pillover. “I’ve only been here a month! I can curtsy now, and my eyelash fluttering is practically unparalleled.” “Well, why not flutter your way into the locked room, then?” (pg 190)

It is a fun clash of feminine wiles and spy stuff.  As it is a school, the kids are away from home and have to deal with teachers and rules to keep the bunch safe.  There is another external mystery going on as well, so they are attacked by flywaymen here and there to keep things exciting.  While there isn’t as much detail as a Harry Potter or something like it, there is a bunch of crazy steampunk stuff with the school, mechanical maids and mechanimals and sooties who shovel the coal. They live in a huge floating boat with multiple levels and different tricksy pieces.  It is quite cool.

I liked this book, it was an easy and fast read and I didn’t ever feel like putting it down.  Four pieces of coal that have burned down, are star shaped and still heat water for steam.


About ocdreader

I love to read! I always have a book or four going, I have more books in my to-be-read pile than I can read in a year and yet I continue to haunt the bookstores. I have a problem, but I somehow soldier on. I enjoy talking books, so pass on your recommendations and thoughts - I would love to hear them.
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6 Responses to Review – Etiquette & Espionage

  1. I saw this at my bookshop and thought it would be a good introduction to steampunk. What do you think?

    • ocdreader says:

      Definitely an easy intro into steampunk. The thing with many of them the element is so subtle you wonder where it is, or it is so detailed it is tough to get through. This was in the middle and fleshed out the world really well, without over doing it. Hope you like it if you pick it up!

  2. beckyday6 says:

    Ha ha I love the quote, sounds like the author has a cool sense of humour! It’s interesting that the protagonist is 14 as well, I don’t seem to come across main characters that age anymore, they’re always 16 in most YA so I tend to encounter that or younger, but not many tweenagers, lol.

    This sounds like a really cool book, and a great review as always! 🙂

  3. awww, this sounds so cute. I could have gotten it too but it didn’t sound that great. But you make it sound awesome. This sounds like a steampunk book I could like. Happy you enjoyed it.

  4. Cathy i says:

    I loved the book also. Brain candy!

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