Author: Gail Carriger
Date of Publication: February 5, 2013
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
I wasn't sure what to think about Carriger's expedition into young adult fiction, I'm not usually a big fan of books with characters under the age of sixteen so I was especially nervous about starting this one. However, other than a few slow spots Etiquette & Espionage turned out to be a fast and highly enjoyable read. Set in the world of the Parasol Protectorate I really enjoyed chance to revisit the world learn more about some old characters.
Sophronia was an absolutely hilarious protagonist. I adored her character and Carriger's writing just highlighted all the best aspects of her personality. I have always loved Carriger's writing style and Etiquette & Espionage was no disappointment, witty but proper Carriger has the prefect style for London set steampunk. Even though I hadn't been sure if I would like Sophronia I found myself liking her more and more with every hilarious comment and improper escapade.
The biggest disappointment came in that there wasn't much of a plot. Other than the girls searching for "the prototype", which is some kind of mystery object, nothing much happens. My biggest issue was why Sophronia cared about the prototype in the first place, other than her carriage being attacked by flyway men searching for it. Even though it had a few slow spots, and a lack of substantial plot, I did end up liking the first Finishing School novel more than I thought I would. I loved being able to learn more about Sidheag and revisit the world of the Parasol Protectorate as well as discover some hilarious new characters.
From Dimity to Soap I loved every new character Carriger introduced in this series. I'm sensing a hint of some future romance between Sophronia and Soap, which excites me to no end. I absolutely loved Soap and not only is he a sootie, shoveling coal in the depths of the floating school, but he's colored as well. I'm super excited to see where Carriger takes their relationship! Dimity was another great character, constantly fainting and always armed with a proper response she was the perfect contrast to Sophronia.
I would highly recommend The Finishing School series to fans of Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series as well as young adult steampunk fans. Despite the weaker plot Carriger makes up for it with great character development and wonderful writing!