Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)

Gail Carriger
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. 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. 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 the 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's legions of fans have come to adore.


Reviewed: 2016-06-24
3.5 Stars

I really enjoyed Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, though I was a little disappointed that it ended as abruptly as it did. But still, I enjoy the series, and Carriger's style and wit, and so I looked forward to this one, despite there being a distinct lack of Lord Maccon.

And despite that it's aimed at a much younger audience, which felt a little awkward at first (no yummies with Maccon?? *sigh*), but then stopped feeling so awkward not that long into the story as I got to know the characters.

I liked seeing some familiar names in this book, and that the world was the same. And I liked seeing some characters that we know from the Parasol Protectorate series in their... formative years.

But there were some issues with this book. I felt that the set up went on a little long, and the ending felt a tiny bit rushed. I also missed some of the real wit and confidence that Alexia had, which is born of her being a bit of an outcast, which caused her to become her own woman. I can see the start of that in Sophronia, but I missed it, nonetheless.

There were a LOOOOOOOOOOOT of formatting errors in this as well, and some were hilarious, but I can't really hold that against the book itself, as it was clearly the ebook itself, not the writing. If there's one thing that I can say about Carriger's writing, it's that it's clean.

Anyway, overall, I liked this, and as the beginning of a series I think it was good. I'd like to see these characters grow, and see where the series goes.
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