Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Spy With My Little Eye

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

Published:  February 5th, 2013
Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School # 1)
By: Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13:  9780316190084

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.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

     The last thing Sophronia wants is to become a proper, Victorian lady like her Mother and older sisters.  But she may not have a choice, after one too many tomboyish escapades send her Mother over the edge, and land her in finishing school.  On the journey to school Sophronia learns that things aren't always what they appear, after her carriage is attacked and she is forced to save the day.  Once at the school (which just happens to float and constantly be on the move!) she and her friends uncover a plot by evildoers to steal a mysterious prototype.  When it seems like none of the teachers will believe anything they say, it is up to Sophronia and her friends to outwit mean-girl Monique and pull of the mission of a lifetime, using all of the unusual talents they possess.  But can they obtain the prototype before the villains do?  And will Sophronia learn how to act civilized before her sister's coming-out ball?  Only time will tell...
     So, I have never read the author's adult series The Parasol Protectorate.  I seem to be one of the few who read this book that can claim such a thing!  That said, I'm kind of glad that I went into it with fresh eyes.  Sophronia was a funny, if somewhat stereotypical heroine going against the grain of average society.  There was a lot of talk about her not conforming, but I think a lot of it had to do with her wanting to do the opposite of her sisters and Mother - which is a normal teenage attitude.  The inclusion of steampunk into the Victorian world isn't anything new, but I liked that it existed as a sort of secret society, in conjunction with the history that we are already familiar with.  The school and it's use of robotic servants, crazy architecture and wonderful engine room was a great place for a story to be set.  All the same, the continuous girl-drama did get annoying to me after awhile.  I mean, I definitely expected this to be more of an adventure book than a Victorian Mean Girls send off.  The beginning and end were all constant action and fast paced fun, while the middle sort of stagnated with the obvious world building and character placements/minor character developments.  Overall it was a fun romp and I'm interested to see where the series goes.  I'd recommend it to fans of paranormal, YA adventure if they don't mind zero romantic presence and lite steampunk.
 VERDICT:  4/5  Stars
**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

1 comment:

  1. Wow this book looks so intense, I love the cover! Glad you enjoyed it.


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