Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)Author: Gail Carriger
Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Pages: 320
Format: ARC

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.

What a cute book. I think that this book is a great spy book for the younger of the YA genre, although it can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. This was my first book by Carriger, and I plan on ensconcing myself in the Parasol Protectorate Series as well as looking forward to future Finishing School books. To come up with what I really enjoyed about this book is really hard because I found that I enjoyed all of it. There were plenty of manners to be learned and espionage to uncover.

This book started with Sophronia, a 14 year old girl who cannot leave inventions well enough alone. In her spare time she would tear inventions apart to find out how they worked. As if this were normal behavior. I thought she was funny and witty and I wished that she would keep on like that, which she did. I found the names in this book to be as exciting as the plot like, Bumbersnoot, Barnaclegoose, Dimity, all of them clever and strange all at once. Each time a new character was introduced I could only imagine what kind of wacky name they would get.

The characters were just as great. There was Sidheag, who was a lady by birth, but not by etiquette. Then there was Pillover, the not so evil genius, and Monique, our antagonist. Each character was funny in their own way. I also really loved the plot and how it was this young woman who was supposed to be gaining an education and how she met all of these strange people along the way while she did her troublesome snooping. I think my favorite was that even in the tumultuous time, Sophronia managed to befriend someone who was considered to be beneath her social class, a “sootie” and they even had this sort of relationship that was brewing. (Clearly she is only 14, so dating is out of the question, but they were sweet on each other which was really adorable.)

I really liked how the plot tied everything in together, including her education. This book was a clear example of mischief and the trouble that girls can get into when not allowed to live up to their potential. I can’t wait to see what the second book is going to bring for Sophronia and her friends and what other trouble she can worm her way into.
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