Fourteen-year-old Sophronia struggles to fit at home, instead of wanting to sit discussing fashion and men with her sisters she is much more interested in figuring out how the mechanical dumbwaiter works or reading history books. Unfortunately for Sophronia in Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, this interest in things more often than not leads her into misadventures. At her wits end, Sophronia’s mother decides to accept the opportunity of sending Sophronia to finishing school.
But the finishing school Sophronia is sent to is nothing like she thought it would be. For one thing, it floats by giant balloons so there is no set address and not just anyone can find it. For another the topics taught are different, while the school does teach dancing, walking, and other lady like pursuits there are also courses in the proper use of eye lash fluttering to gain information or distract and poison classes. As if this were not confusing enough, the school is under attack and Sophronia may be the only one who can stop it.
Etiquette & Espionage takes place in the world Gail Carriger created in her Parasol Protectorate series but several years before that series takes place. Etiquette & Espionage does not require you reading the Parasol series but you miss out on the fun of knowing some of the character that play a large role in that series. I do think it would be helpful to read the Parasol series so you have a little bit more information about the vampires and werewolves in Etiquette but you can get by without reading the other series.
I loved Etiquette & Espionage, the lessons Sophronia learns are hilarious, the mechanicals are intriguing (this is a steampunk novel) and the final scene where Sophie is test is a riot. I also love how everytime Sophie gets caught by a teacher they are really just upset that she got caught, not that she was doing the activity she was doing and they usually give her pointers on how she could have gotten away with the scenario if she had said or done something differently. I also really appreciate the Carriger has given Sophie what I feel is just the right interest in boys, she is only 14 so she is noticing boys but Etiquette is no great love story, just a fabulous adventurish story about a girl on the verge of womanhood but who isn’t quite there and that is okay. I am sad that the next book in the series won’t be out until next year, I interested to find out what other shenanigans take place at the school.
Finishing School Reading Order:
Deportment & Deceit (January 2014)
Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Format: Paperback, eBook
Page Nos.: 320
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.