Book Review: Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
I love Gail Carriger, and I was so excited to read Etiquette and Espionage.  Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series is a favorite of mine, and I was so hoping the Finishing School series would be the same.  I really enjoyed Etiquette and Espionage after the story took off.

Carriger takes us back to the world of the Parasol Protectorate---actually a little bit before Alexia Maccon's time---with one of the most enigmatic characters from the Parasol Protectorate appearing in Etiquette and Espionage as a child.  It was the addition of this particular character that helped me realize this series takes place before the Parasol Protectorate series.  I hope that there is more character crossover in future books, because I'd love to see some of my favorite characters from the Parasol Protectorate series again.

Sophronia was an easy character to like.  She's spunky, smart, and full of purposeful energy.  I loved her pragmatic attitude and her fearlessness.  She reminded me a lot of Alexia in that way.  The characters in this book were well-developed and their personalities just jumped off of the page.  I've always loved Carriger's character development, and she certainly didn't disappoint on that account. 

There was quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor in this story, and I loved that.  The steampunk setting made this book a lot of fun to read.  There were so many things I liked about Etiquette and Espionage. 

The world-building in Etiquette and Espionage reminded me of the deliberate pacing of book one of the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.  I liked Soulless but thought it was  slow to start, and I felt the same way about this book.  Once I got into the story, I really enjoyed it, but there were times that I almost stopped reading due to the lack of action.  About two-thirds of the way in, the story took off and that's when it became a really fun read for me.

Overall, I enjoyed Etiquette and Espionage.  Now that the world-building is complete, I think book two will be excellent, and I can't wait to continue reading this fun, imaginative series!

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