March 3, 2013

Review of Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger



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.

Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners — and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But 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.

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Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
Publication Date:  February 5, 2013
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Available for Purchase:
Chapter-Indigo | amazon | B&N | TBD | indiebound

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions *

Gabby NewEtiquette & Espionage was one of those titles that I’ve seen all over the internet as a can’t miss read for 2013. I read the premise of the novel a few months back and found myself totally interested and wanting to find out what happens to main character Sophronia Temminnick. The hype that has been raised for Etiquette & Espionage is definitely spot on, not only did I have fun while reading the novel but I also found myself laughing at the comical scenes that took place in the novel while also remaining thrilled by all the things that Sophronia experienced at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

Etiquette & Espionage is told in the third person and focuses on Sophronia Temminnick as she attends finishing school. However, what Sophronia’s mother didn’t know when sending her daughter to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s was that the finishing school wasn’t just a place for Sophronia to learn how to be a lady, but also a place to learn how to become an intelligencer. Sophronia faces conflict when a group of flywaymen attack her carriage on the way to finishing school, after that Sophronia learns of a stolen prototype that everybody at finishing school wants more than anything. While Sophronia is taught the valuable skills required to become an intelligencer (from flirting to how to properly attack a werewolf) she also finds herself get caught up in the mystery of what the prototype is and how to obtain it from where her classmate, and antagonist of the novel, Monique hid it.

There’s one genre that I rarely get to read and that would be steampunk novels and when I do read them I get a bit nervous. However it didn’t take long for me to figure out that there was nothing to be nervous about with this novel. After a while, I started to forget that it was a steampunk and found myself growing intrigued with the plot more than anything. A big portion of why I enjoyed the novel so much is the way the plot and situations were written by the author. Carriger introduces readers to situations that, if written too seriously, would make readers fear for the main characters life. Instead she puts her characters in these dangerous situations and uses comedy and a humorous writing style as a way to make the novel feel light and playful which I loved.

Sophronia is a character who I am closer in age to than most of the characters in YA that I’ve read about and I actually found her quite realistic for a fourteen year old girl. I personally think that Sophronia is the type of character that many girls in their early teens will be able to relate to. Sophronia does have to deal with making friends in a new place, having to deal with the awkwardness of dealing with a friend you’ve upset and also feeling out of place in a place that is foreign to you.  Definitely something that younger teens have to deal with more than the romance that most YA novels focus on.

The cast of characters in the novel are ones that I loved, especially the ones of the supernatural variety. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s (which I have decided is a steampunk Hogwarts that is for lady spies instead of wizards) the staff are different and memorable. I enjoyed that there was a vampire professor who wasn’t the clichéd vampire and revealed some hilarious things that can defeat a vampire in one of his lessons. Have I mentioned that there’s also a werewolf? In the Etiquette & Espionage universe not only are there robots that can do way cooler things than my laptop, but there are also vampires and werewolves that are (not really) embraced by society.

I’d recommend Etiquette & Espionage to readers who are fans of steampunk novels and novels like The Friday Society. Readers who want a novel that is exciting and lighthearted will also fall hard for Etiquette & Espionage.

About the Author:


Ms. Carriger writes steampunk urbane fantasy comedies of manners to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. She then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by a harem of shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London and cats that pee into toilets. Her Parasol Protectorate books are all New York Times Bestsellers.
It is not her policy to conduct business over Goodreads. Please visit Gail’s website and drop her a calling card if you have a request.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Sugar & Snark

    Great review! Makes me want to pick it up and read it right away :)

  2. Bree

    I love steampunk but am a little nervous when I read it too…but I will *not* miss this one, it sounds so awesome!

    Thanks for the great review!

  3. Great review. I was a little on the fence about buying this, but after your review, I’ve made up my mind. I have to have to have it!

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  4. Alexa

    This sounds like a great read. I just picked up a copy from the library so I hope I get a chance to read the awesome steam punk world before it is due back.

    Thanks for the great review, glad you enjoyed the story!

  5. Angelica

    I bought this on the weekend, looking forward to reading it :D

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