Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

10874177Published: February 5th 2013 By: Little, Brown BYR

Genres: Young-Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical / Alternate-History

Library Borrow: Hardcover My Rating: 4 Stars

Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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. Temminnick 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.


REVIEW I’ve not read Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series, but after reading this first book in her Finishing School Series, I will be picking it up soon. I loved this from the very first page. With a cast of phenomenal characters and a Victorian steampunk world, what more could you ask for? I’m going to get the next book before the week is out so that I can jump back in. I’ll try my best to not spoil this for those of you who haven’t read it.

A few things you need to know about Finishing School, should you decide to enroll. 1) Learning to curtsy properly will be one of many lessons. 2) You must exhibit modesty and decorum at all times. 3) Should you find yourself in a tight situation, don’t panic. Flutter those lashes and get the job done. 4) This is espionage, ladies. Spy with class, and everything will work out in the end. If you have to kill, kill with courtesy. 5) Don’t be afraid of vampires and werewolves, they’re harmless. 🙂

My only problem I had with this book is the lack of scheming. Oh, it came at the end; that was not enough for me. There were little mentions here and there, but this is mostly character developing and getting you ready for the next book; which I can’t wait to read. Our main character, Sophronia, needed to learn etiquette more than all the girls in England, it seemed. She isn’t like all the others, and I really love her brave outlook on life. She doesn’t want to sit around and sip tea, and curtsy every time there are people to deal with. Bit of tomboyish, which reminds me of me when I was growing up. No playing house for me, I played with the neighborhood boys and shot BB guns. Sophronia’s mother has had enough and it is high time that she learn to be a lady. So, off to Finishing School she goes. Only, this isn’t the school that her mother thinks she’s enrolled her in. Learning etiquette isn’t the only thing on the curriculum, the art of espionage is practiced while learning to be the lady that society demands.

Sophronia is an adventurous type of girl, so there was no getting her to stay put until told otherwise. She had to know everything that was going on around her. Especially after getting ambushed by some flyways on her way to the school. The headmistress is hiding something indeed. There are lots of characters to get to know, and I found myself smiling or laughing the whole time while reading this. The school itself is cool. So cool, that I’d like to go there myself. Think of how Nick Fury & Co. travel and you get the idea of this flying school. I’m not familiar with this world like those who have read Carriger’s other series, so it’s new and exciting for me. I love the steampunk tech that make up part of this world. Of course this is the Victorian Era, so the fashions are beyond amazing and makes you want to be trasnsported back to this alternate world. It’s all so appealing to me. I’m just excited to read the next book soon. If you like some steampunk in your YA fantasy/paranormal, then this is the book for you. I’m not sure what the rest of the books hold, but if it gets intense like the ending of this book, then I’m ready for some action and for these girls to put their skills to use. Definitely recommended.


8 thoughts on “Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

  1. So glad to see you recommend this! I liked the first book of her Parasol Protectorate series, but wasn’t in a rush to read the rest since to this day I still haven’t gotten started with the second book. I picked up Prudence last year though, and LOVED it! So, now I’m kind of torn on her books. I’d originally dismissed this one, but now I think I’ll have to go back to give it a try.


    • This one is young adult, and if I’m not mistaken, there is a younger version of one of the characters in her PP series. I think I’ll finish these out and then grab the first book in the other series.


  2. I have had this one on my TBR for quite a while now and still haven’t been able to get it… but I do want it so badly! I am a steampunker lover, so I know I am probably going to like the world of this one. I love the covers and your review makes it sound promising. The main character sounds like the kind of curious and self-discovering girl and I love that!


    • If you like steampunk, then you will probably like this. Though, I’ve been told to read her other series first as this is a prequel series. The other series is adult.


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