Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School Book the First)
Reviewed by Rosalind
Age recommendation: fifth grade all the way up
Sophronia Temmenick’s mother has had quite enough. No more stealing pieces of machinery or tumbling out of dumbwaiters half-dressed at tea time. No more atrocious curtseys. Sophronia is going to finishing school.
Unbeknownst to Mrs. Temmenick, though, Madame Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is no ordinary school. Powered by dirigible and floating above Britain, Madame Geraldine’s teaches its pupils how to stake vampires, spy on sky pirates, scheme, deceive, extort, and pass coded messages while dancing the quadrille. Sophronia has just become a covert recruit.
As Sophronia meets her fellow students and discovers a whole new side to Polite Society, a few things become manifestly clear: appearances are deceiving. Something mysterious and maybe even nefarious is happening aboard Madame Geraldine’s. And finishing school is going to be fun.
Gail Carriger’s much-anticipated YA debut is a fast, witty treat of a book. It shares a setting with Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, taking place some twenty years before Soulless, but no previous knowledge of this steam-and-supernatural world is necessary.
Etiquette and Espionage can be scattershot in its pacing and plotting, but the charming characters and laugh out loud moments make it a worthwhile read, and the premise of a steampunk finishing school halfway between Hogwarts and St. Trinian’s is a guarantee of more fun to come.