(Goodreads) 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.
The Short Story? - Set in the same world as Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, Etiquette and Espionage follows the adventures of Sophronia Temminick as she attends her first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. The perfect combination of adventure, the supernatural and Garriger's signature "posh" humour, Etiquette and Espionage is high quality reading for the YA audience! Filled with mystery, friendship and the unpredictable, Carriger's YA debut is nothing less than impressive!
The Long Story? - I've been waiting so long to read this novel and now that I've finished reading it, I regret nothing! It was an absolutely delight to read, beautifully written, rich language and very witty humour, I expected nothing less from Carriger. Etiquette and Espionage is probably aimed at a younger audience since the characters are essentially fourteen however the plot suggests that it's a story that can be enjoyed by all. I was sold on the idea of a "finishing" school where the proper ladies of society learn everything from high fashion to poisoning husbands ( tell me that doesn't sound good! I DARE YOU!) and Carriger definitely delivered. I loved the mystery element of the whole novel, I loved the steampunk and I loved the supernatural. It's not a very action-packed novel and it would have been nice to see a little more "finishing" but I have no doubt that book one is just a learning curve for Sophronia and her friends! I'm a little disappointed at the lack of romance since Carriger writes it so well but the seeds have been planted and I'm sure something will blossom in book two! In other words, bring it on!
The characterisation was great, I've got a good grasp on Sophronia's character from Etiquette and Espionage, she's unpredictable, quirky and trouble in the form of a fourteen year girl. However she's also quick on her feet and fiercely loyal to her friends, she's good at solving mysteries and although she's far from finishing, she's a lady in the making! Dimity is so lovely, if I could have a partner in crime, I would pick Dimity, she's probably not the most reliable or the best pupil but she's funny and girly and the complete opposite of Sophronia. I was also quite taken by little Vieve who I thought was such an adorable character, not to mention that Vieve's a genius! I thoroughly liked Soap's character throughout the novel, he's charming and sweet and incredibly helpful! Overall, not a bad cast of characters at all!
If I'm certain about anything, it's that Carriger knows how to write a wonderful historical YA. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Etiquette and Espionage, humour, steampunk, the supernatural, mystery and adventure! Dangerous, exciting and just a little fancy, Etiquette and Espionage is a remarkable debut that brings just as many thrills as laughs! Get your teacups out, slip on your gloves - we're going to finishing school!
What's it Worth? - Hand Over The Paycheck
Badass Bookie xx