Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette &Espionage is the first book in the Finishing School series for young adults by Gail Carriger. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners. Mrs. Temminnick 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. Quickly Sophronia realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish everything. They do learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette; but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage, but politely, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Etiquette &Espionage is a great start to a new series. The world building is seamlessly woven into the story, a steam punk world with all the trappings of polite society including corsets and stays. Sophronia, her family, and the girls she meets at the school all are like people you could meet anywhere- they have the traits you can find in any crowd, but with a twist of skill in espionage to keep you guessing of everyone's true nature and intent. I liked Sophronia's genuine nature, and interest in most unlady like things, as well as her willingness to go outside of conventions- and to accept others for their own quirks. There is the expected mean girl necessary in every book involving teens, but there is also aerobatic escapes, air battles, a werewolf attack, a vampiric professor, a ball, and some social commentary. There is a fun variety of people and characters, as well as a great layer of mystery and intrigue.

I would recommend Etiquette & Espionage to readers that enjoy spy novels, young adult books, steam punk, historical novels, and good old fashion adventure. I really feel into the world, and have had trouble leaving it behind, thankfully the next two books in the series are waiting for my attention on my Kindle.

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