Jan 21, 2013

ARC Review--Etiquette and Espionage 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 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.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.

I received this ARC via a contest on Gail's blog and it was provided to me by the publishers for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Gail Carriger's Etiquette and Espionage is her debut into the YA world, and once more it's set in the same word as her Parasol Protectorate series, a mere 25 years before we first meet Alexia! And it was fantastic! I was happy to recognize some familiar names, if not necessarily faces!

Sophronia is your basic tomboy of sorts in a different time naturally, a time when she is expected to be a lady and since at 14 she is not quite there, her mother is convinced that she must attend finishing school. Yet Sophronia finds out that this is no ordinary finishing school, but it also teaches young ladies the art of espionage.

As to the why of that, well, it's not really explained yet, but I think Gail might have a few ideas up her sleeve. For the most part this book definitely has that introduction feel to it as Sophronia is presented with a new world of gadgetry and of course vampires and werewolves! And while learning the fine arts of being  a proper lady she must learn to do so with the skills of a spy! It was really quite fascinating to read the prim and proper with the espionage!

The characters were awesome too, Sophronia is a likable heroine while her friend Dimity rings slightly of familiarity of another character we know and love! While they appear to be opposites in some ways, they become fast friends! Monique is another fascinating character, although not quite lovable. She, at seventeen, is Sophronia's better and adversary.

As I said the storyline has the mostly introductory feel to it, but Sophronia also must find this "object" that is very important to the school and the teachers. And Monique is the last one to have held it and seen it. So Sophronia obviously looks to her as the culprit. Yet, this mystery isn't nearly as focused on as you would think. Sophronia does want to find it and is curious as to why it's so wanted. It's obvious Monique doesn't have it on her person, but many people want this, including the enemy flywaymen, a group of bandits(?) who fly in flying contraptions, but we don't know much about them.

There are quite a few questions left at the end. Mostly a bunch of whats? But as I said this is the first book and mostly introduces us to this new, yet familiar world.

Overall the story wasn't bad, the pacing could've been a little better and a little less intro like, but I did enjoy it! And I like the cameo appearances of some people. It's an enjoyable novel and one I recommend  if you wish to return to the Parasol Protectorate world! 

Overall rating 3.5/5 stars

Etiquette and Espionage releases February 5, 2013


  1. The characters sound like the make it worth the while. I haven't read this series yet.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. Hmm I'm sorry it wasn't as good but I'm curious about this one and can't wait to receive my copy!

  3. I still absolutely love that cover. I haven't read the Parasol Protectorate, but from what you've said it sounds like something to look in to. I saw Timeless on your blog before. This one sounds like an interesting book, but may be one I'd want to wait until the second one is out before reading. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven

  4. I haven't read the author's other series, but this one sounds good. But I think I may get it from the library first...even though the cover is freaking AWESOME! Nice review!

  5. Hmm.. This one sounds sorta okay, but I didn't know there was a series before this. Probably won't read the previous series because I only read YA. It doesn't sound like it has a complete focus on finding the object. I still will read though just to see how it is :)

    -Ari @ Secrets of Lost Words


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