Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Finishing School, Book 1

Synopsis: 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.

Review: I have not completely finished the original series but when I saw that the author had planned new novels in the same world, I was immediately intrigued. In addition, after trying steampunk adult, we are here with steampunk young adult books. I must say that in the end even though I might have preferred the first series, I still had a good time with this first volume.

We discover Sophronia, a girl who behaves differently from a lady to the chagrin of her mother. In fact she loves to climb, explore, study or understand the mechanisms of all things. To change this, her mother decides to send her to Miss Geraldine’s finishing school for the development of qualities for young ladies. You can imagine that the girl is far from happy. But on the way, accompanied by her guardian but also of a girl joining the institute: Dimiti, as well as her brother, Sophronia will have to put her talents to work to save them from attacks and to manage to go where they’re waited. But this event will make her understand that her companion hides many secrets, including an object that everyone seems to want and our heroine is determined to find it to give it back to the rightful owner. She also discovers very quickly that she thought that this school destined to help her becoming a lady is much more than that, and she will learn a lot of things she does not suspect. She might also enjoy these studies more than she originally thought. I must also say that people who move around her are all amazing.

The story was pretty cool, even if perhaps something was missing for me. I took great pleasure in finding names that we knew from the original series such as Lefoux or Maccon for example. The world is as always very interesting and it was nice to find this idea of ​​steampunk mixed with creatures of all kinds. Sophronia is a girl who has a heart of gold but who is always the first to break the rules. This is how she will meet many characters who help her throughout the story. As I said, different personalities are found here, tomboys, inventors, clumsy ladys, all together for some pretty adventures. The plot was also pretty cute, even if not very complicated and I’m curious enough to see what the author reserves her readers for the future.

I liked the first book and I look forward to see what will happen. However, I think I may finish the first series before returning to it.



33 thoughts on “Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

  1. I’d wondered that about this series–whether or not I needed to finish the original series before starting this one. It doesn’t sound like it’s necessary, but I still think I’ll finish the first before starting a new one. Thanks for sharing, Melliane!

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one for the most part Melliane! It was light and cute, and though I definitely wanted more in some areas, I had fun reading it. It seems like you did as well even if you felt it was missing a little something, and I can’t wait to see what you think of the next book!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it, even if something was missing for you, I’ve heard of them, but haven’t read them yet either. I haven’t read too many steampunk either, so that should be good and fun. Love when the other characters involved actually have personalities too, and are not just there just to be there, if that makes sense. 🙂

  4. I have both books (part one) of Gail Carriger’s YA and Adult series. I’m so glad you enjoyed Finishing School almost as much a her Parasol series. I’m excited to start Souless as soon as I can find a gap between my review reads. I’m happy to hear there’s much fun to be had in both series. Wonderful review, Melliane 🙂

  5. I have been meaning to try this one for forever now and I keep forgetting about it! Okay, I am going to download the first book on my kindle so hopefully I will see it there and remember to start it. 🙂

  6. I enjoyed this too but Im guessing PP is way better than this. I’m with you, I think the missing thing for me was it felt more like juvenile fiction than YA. It lacked some level of tension for me

  7. By original series, you mean the Parasol Protectorate/Alexia books? Awesome, I never knew that one and this series were related! Same world, I guess? I’d only read the first book and wanted to check this series out too because I was interested in her YA, but like you decided I might want to finish up her other series first. Looks like I made a good decision. This one is on my list though, for when the day comes!

  8. I’m happy you enjoyed it, and I didn’t know about the series at all but the idea of ​​steampunk mixed with creatures of all kinds really intrigues me… Anyway, I’ll be sure to go with the first series before starting this 😉

  9. I have seen this one around, but I actually had no idea about that other one! I’m really glad you enjoyed this one and it sounds interesting. I’ll have to check out this now. Great review, Melliane 🙂

  10. I’ve only read the first book in the original series, and I liked it but wasn’t wowed by it, so I keep hesitating on this series. I think I will just have to try it and see.

  11. Sophronia seems like a character I could connect with or at least like 🙂 I’ve only read one book in the original series but this (prequel? I heard it was a prequel) one seems more interesting coz I didn’T likeit it THAT MUCH. Still, like you, I will try to finish the first series in order to reading this one. ^^

    Great review. 🙂

  12. Pingback: Coop de Book Review ~ Blood and Chocolate (Miss Carriger Recommends) - Gail Carriger

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