book review
2 Stars, Book Reviews

{REVIEW} Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger


by Gail Carriger

Genre: Young Adult, Scifi – Steampunk
Pub Date: Oct 8, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 307 pages
Spoilers: Marked
Goodreads ♦ Amazon($6.31)



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 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.


I have a certain obsession with steampunk. I love the tech. I love the gritty look and feel. I love the historical aspects that go along with it. So, this book seemed like such a good choice, but perhaps I expected too much of the book because I was disappointed with the steampunk aspects. Yes, they exist in the book, but they act more as background than actual character interaction points or plot points. So, I would have liked more.

Haughty and Vain
From the description of this book it sounds like the girls will be taught to assimilate in proper society with appropriate manners while also learning the art of espionage. Yet, as much as I love reading about upper crusty society back in the day, most of it in this book was frivolous. The characters had conversations that literally had no meaning, but were just filled with big, hoity-toity words to make them sound interesting. It was quite a let-down.

Young Teens
This book reminded me what I dislike about reading from a young teen’s point of view: the childishness behind it. The main character, Sophronia, is meant to be intelligent, clever, and capable. Yet, she comes across more as meddling, self-centered, and most definitely childish. Childish to the point where I found myself just rolling my eyes at some of the things she did and said. Yet, somehow, she is a perfect character who can get herself out of anything.

Lack of Depth
The book most certainly has a plot. However, it seems as though the main characters are in the dark about what’s really going on. Even so, there are no distinct questions for me to ask to figure out what might be going on. That being said, I wasn’t interested in reading further, much less reading the rest of the series.

finish the series

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