by Gail Carriger
Rating: 3.5/4 stars
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.
Short and Sweet:
These are the words that describe the world of Etiquette & Espionage. When I first started this book, I had a vague idea of Vicotrian era, lady-like spies. And I was right. To a certain extent at least. What I didn't expect was the devil-may-care attitude. And it was wonderful.
From the very beginning you're thrown into this world as if it is utterly normal. There is no info dump, no introduction. Werewolves? Oh yeah, a part of ever-day society. Vampires? Why not? Picklemen? Sure. And, though it was a bit off-putting, in the end I ended up loving it. Add in some steampunk goodness and you're golden.
This story follows Sophronia, a crass, mischievous, sarcastic, adventurous young woman who doesn't exactly follows the rules of propriety. As a result, her mother sends her to a finishing school, where she learns to finish all right. With classes on fainting, poisons, and the seductive art of fanning, it's like no school you've heard of but one that is thoroughly enjoyable.
This isn't some deep book with many thought-provoking ideas (though definitely some scandals!), but boy is it fun! With Sophronia's quick wit and free spirit, you're addicted from the very beginning. Her spunky nature and dry wit easily won me over and her curiosity led to many, many interesting adventures.
Even though you're just kind of drop-kicked into this fantasy world, it's well worth it. Sophronia is an incredibly fun, adventurous, sarcastic character who won me over from the very beginning (seriously, we could be great friends). Fun adventures await!
All the best ♥︎