Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Series: Finishing School #1
Genres: 19th Century, Historical, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult
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.
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.
Steampunk Gallagher Girls
Gallagher Girls was one of my favourite books when I was in high school, and when I first heard of this, the whole finishing school for spies thing, I immediately thought about Gallagher Girls. Lucky for me, what I expected is what I got! The spy lessons don’t take the forefront of the plot, but they’re mentioned a lot and always in the most hilarious ways.
More MG/ young YA in tone
Sophonia and friends are, at the eldest, 14. Some of the side characters might be 16 or so, but the focus of the story is definitely younger and that is reflected in the story’s tone. Personally I would have preferred older characters and more complex elements and writing that comes with it, but ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE was still a heap of fun to read and the younger, whimsical tone contributed to that.
Would have loved more espionage
Sophonia does a lot of sneaking around the school and learning bits and pieces, but it wasn’t enough for me! I wanted more secrets, more suspenseful and daring escapades. There wasn’t much risk or surprise involved. This might come in future books as the characters age (I hope).
I love the humour & supernatural elements
I can have a pretty ridiculous sense of humour at times. I will seriously laugh at the silliest things. ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE had a lot of sarcastic, tongue in cheek one liners that had me cackling. I’m not sure how many other people share this strange sense of humour but I LOVE IT.
I’m looking forward to watching these girls grow up
I didn’t completely connect to all the girls in ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE but I did like many of them. I’m looking forward to following them as they grow up into fine ladies and marvellous spies and assassins. Hopefully with age comes some more complicated, risky plots and heists.
If I had to summarise ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE in a single sentence, it is basically a historical steampunk Gallagher Girls with paranormal elements. It was a good little read, but I wish it had the complexity and depth that comes with older audiences/ characters. I’m really looking forward to following Sophronia and her friends grow up and finish (a.k.a. graduate) as spies and assassins.