Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
My rating: 4.5 of 5
(Book read from April 12-17, 2013, for a read-along.)
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 a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners - and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, 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.Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.
My Thoughts on the Book:
Etiquette & Espionage is the first book in the Finishing School series - a prequel series of Gail Carriger's adult series - the Parasol Protectorate - series that I loved. Because of that I think I might be a bit biased when it comes to this book and the world in it, as well as Gail's writing style. To be honest, I didn't expect that to influence me in any way, although I was hoping to meet a character or two I already know, but surprisingly it did, but in a good way. I was surprised by the secondary characters from the Parasol Protectorate in this book, I so didn't expect to see them, but I loved it, and of course a number of things in this book that I probably wouldn't have known I guessed quite early, but only because I already know Gail's steampunk world in the future, but all of that didn't diminish my enjoyment at all. Actually, it makes me even more excited about the 2nd book, because I know what Curtsies & Conspiracies will be about, and I'm so excited to see how all of that will play out :) So, if you're a fan of the Parasol Protectorate series, give this one a shot, I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it. But, back to Etiquette & Espionage.In Etiquette & Espionage we meet Sophronia. From the moment she shows up, I started to like her a lot, and she made me laugh again & again through the book. She's fun, witty, smart, curious, spontaneous & quick-on-her-feet, and I absolutely loved her as character.The other characters were great, too. I loved Dimity & Pillover, they were hilarious & lots of fun. I also loved Vieve, it was really interesting to see her as a 9-year old girl, as well as Sidheag - I definitely wasn't expecting her, but I'm glad she's here. Soap was a fun character, too, and a sweetie (in a non-crushing sense).Monique was another interesting addition to this book, as well as all the professors, and all the other characters in the book. And of course not to forget Bumbersnoot - so adorable :)As for the story, it starts when Sophronia is enrolled in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality against her will. On the way there she meets Dimity & her brother Pillover who's starting Bunson and Lacroix’s Boys’ Polytechnique - a school for evil geniuses. She thinks her school is just a regular finishing school, but soon realizes it's much more, and yeah, she loves it. Who wouldn't want to go to school on a floating dirigible?The pacing of the story was perfect, the characters were well-developed, plenty of action, and the ending was great. Such a fun book!As for the world, I absolutely loved it. Although I know a lot about the future of this world & its supernatural society, it was so great to see it in the past. I loved everything about it: the schools, the flywaymen, the Pistons, the Picklemen, the steampunk technology, everything. And I can't wait to learn more about the past.As for the writing style, as always, it was great & I absolutely loved it. Gail Carriger has such a fun way of writing, so her books are always lots of fun and full of humour, as well as quirky characters & situations. And her books are addictive, so beware ;) And the names in this book - hilarious! So, yeah, she has done it again, only this time for the YA audience, and I can't wait to read more!Etiquette & Espionage is a great YA debut that I can't recommend enough. It will take you on quite a fun ride through a different kind of London, and it will make you laugh, smile & root for Sophronia & her friends & their adventure, and it will leave you eager for more of these characters & their world.