Release Date: 5th February 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, Timeless
It’s one thing to learn to curtsey properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsey 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 curtsey. Mrs Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrols Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realises the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle’s Geraldine’s young ladies...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...
Etiquette & Espionage is probably the book I’ve had the most fun reading so far this year. It’s funny, clever, action packed and so unique.
There’s such an unusual tone to this book and I struggled to work out how to describe it. It’s Victorian, but not; modern but old-fashioned; amusing but not side crushingly funny – whatever it was, it certainly complimented such a magical and individual world. I mean, it’s not often you get a vampire professor, lessons in seduction and deception and go to school on a floating ship. It’s a brilliant world and I can’t wait to discover more about it as the series goes on.
One of my favourite elements of Etiquette & Espionage were the ridiculous names and delightful characters that accompanied Sophronia on her journey. Now Sophronia is a pretty unusual name, but apparently it’s just an archaic version of Sophie or Sophia – maybe that’s what I should make people call me from now on... Lots of the other names, however? Pure, brilliant nonsense: Mrs Barnaclegoose, Frowbritcher and Lord Dingleproops are my favourites. Couple them with Sophronia’s partners in crime: Soap, Dimity and Vieve and you have a book full of incredible characters, most of them who you can’t help but love.
Along with the pure excellence of the world building and characterisation, Sophronia is investigating a mystery. A mysterious prototype is hidden during Sophronia’s journey to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s and she’s determined to find out what it is, where it is and how to get it back in the hands of the right people. Her methods are ingenious and often dangerous and well, you’ll have to read the book to find out if she managed her goal!
Gail Carriger has started the Finishing School series will a fantastically fun book and I can't wait to read Curtsies & Conspiracies.
For my 2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge (Steampunk)
Thank you to Atom for sending me a copy to review.