Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: Available
Etiquette & Espionage, the first book in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, is the quirky, energetic story of fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick, a girl who has just been sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Mrs. Temminnick, a hassled woman who wants boyish Sophronia to become a respectable young lady, doesn’t know that Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Academy focuses more on espionage and less on etiquette. Though that’s not to say that Mademoiselle Geraldine’s is all deceit and diversion – the unusual teachers insist that the ins and outs of society must be learned, including, much to Sophronia’s dismay, the perfection of the curtsy. These arts are masterfully intertwined into the espionage-based curriculum. One class will find the girls waltzing through the room with a master dancer, and the next will have them learning how to subtly use a knife under the tutelage of the popular greatcoat-and-top-hat-clad werewolf.
Of course, Sophronia finds herself in the middle of a budding spy’s nightmare (involving flywaymen, mechanicals, a communications device, and a snooty fellow classmate), because what kind of young woman enrolled in an espionage school wouldn’t? In fact, Sophronia is more curious than most, and she always wants to figure out how something works. And in a school in which spying is pretty much mandatory, Sophronia can find herself in a load of trouble.
This book is written in a style reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with its singular flair of fantastic creatures and one-of-a-kind characters masked behind the everyday acceptance of daily life. I loved the imagination that went into this story as well as its eccentricity. This is definitely a book I could read a couple times through and still find new things to laugh at. It’s great for any reader who loves a bit of good old girl power, with a side of the class, flair, and elegance traditional in the education of a respectable young lady. Like any normal school, there is gossip, romance, scorn, admiration, trickery, deception, and a rigid status quo. But this school has a lot more at stake than good grades…
Review by Alyssa
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