Sometimes you come across a book that you just know you’re going to love. The title, the cover, and the summary all seem to fit your book love meter. And then you read the book (or in my case, listen) and you discover that you don’t just love the book….
YOU FREAKIN’ ADORE THE BOOK!
Gail Carriger, where have you been all my life?! The steampunk debut, Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger is officially on my new favorites list!
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.
Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners — and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they 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.
So, yes this fun, and light-hearted romp through a steampunk/supernatural world is Carriger’s first YA novel. Apparently she writes a steampunk series for adults (thank you internets!), in which some of the characters in Etiquette & Espionage make appearances all grown up. I absolutely must add these to my To Read stack.
Etiquette and Espionage is kind of like a Gallagher Girls book (by Ally Carter- which I also LOVE!) set in a steampunk setting. It’s a boarding school for girl spies, with a twist! I am craving so much more of this alternate steampunk world with vampires, werewolves & evil geniuses!
I had fun with all the exaggerated Victorian fashion. And the fact that your pearl necklace may or may not be useful as weapon! Also, I’m a huge fan of boarding school books, but a boarding school for spies and assassins – a FLYING boarding school at that?! I want to go to a flying boarding school for spies and assassins!!
The plot and mystery in Etiquette & Espionage were on the mild side, with most of the story detailing Sophronia becoming accustomed to her new school and home, but this was a good thing as it enabled Carriger to focus on introducing and letting us get-to-know characters. I really enjoyed Sophronia, the main character (although she can be a little too perfect sometimes) for all her progressive thinking and climbing skills. Overall she is spunky, smart kindhearted and a fun character. If I was a student at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s I believe I’d want to be one of Sophronia’s good friends. Additionally, all the other debut students were well written and interesting, especially the reluctant Sitay, and the ever colorful Dimity! My favorite character though, was the mechanical dog (mechanimal) named Bumbersnoot. YES.
The narrator, Moira Quirk, was really entertaining to listen to. Her accents and voices were perfect and made me so happy that I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it myself. And let’s not forget this absolutely stunning cover! I want this dress. Seriously. The hot pink against the black is eye-catching and the cogs and gear pattern is so smart and perfectly matched to the story.
Do you like steampunk? Do you enjoy reading YA? Are you in the mood for an audiobook? Well, Etiquette & Espionage comes recommend with the BookTasty stamp of approval! I believe that middle grade readers and up will have as much fun with this book as I did!
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2013)
Length: 9 hours and 1 minute
Narrator(s): Moira Quirk
Series: First in the Finishing School series
Buy the Book: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)