5 Things About Etiquette & Espionage

March 25, 2017 Review 24 ★★★½

5 Things About Etiquette & Espionage
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Atom
Source: Purchased
Pages: 329
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.

Buy ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE: Book DepositoryBooktopia | BookWorld

Rating Report
Overall: 3.3

24 Responses to “5 Things About Etiquette & Espionage”

    • Bec

      It was a tonne of fun! Yeah I can struggle with the younger tone a lot, but if I find it funny and fun then I can usually get into it okay :D

    • Bec

      I’ve read the first book of her adult series and it was also a tonne of fun! From what I hear some of the characters in the adult series appear in this series as kids (though I haven’t met them in the adult series yet haha)

    • Bec

      It would just have been that extra bit more interesting if they were older! Hopefully that comes in the sequels.

    • Bec

      It definitely could have used a lot more espionage and plot action! I’m hoping there will be a bit more in the next few books.

  1. Tasya

    I didn’t really enjoyed Heist Society, which is why I never tried out Gallagher girls, but this one sounds fun! I’m in a historical fiction kick right now, so I’m definitely adding this to my tbr!
    Tasya recently posted…The Mid-Autumn Festival Tag

  2. Kelly @ Here's to Happy Endings

    I’ve had this book on my Kindle for ages, but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I love how it’s kind of on the fence for both MG and YA – that helps it appeal to multiple age groups (and MG can be such fun to read). It’s a bummer about the actual espionage though – I was definitely hoping for more of that, too! Great review!
    Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings recently posted…Blog Tour: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – Guest Post and Giveaway!

    • Bec

      There are a lot of books nowadays branching genres.

      With any luck there will be more espionage in the next book.

      Thanks :D

  3. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    Oh, wow. I had no idea that the characters were so young in this one! I always find it harder to connect to them when they’re so much younger than me (I mean, almost ten years in this case). I really hope that the series follows them as they grow up because it sounds like it could be even more amazing than this one. I really do want to read this book because of the steampunk elements, so thanks for the heads up about the age! At least I won’t be shocked when I read it, haha.

    I hope you like the rest of the series, Bec!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: Seeing Yourself in Fiction

    • Bec

      I thought they were going to be 15/16, but apparently not. It’s been a while since we were that young haha. From the looks of things it follows them over the next year or so (they’ll be about 16 when the last book happens I think).

      The steampunk stuff was so cool!

    • Bec

      This was my main struggle! Hopefully if you do read the others they’ll be older and a bit more enjoyable.

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    I own a copy of this but haven’t read it yet – a lot of my most trusted blogger friends adore it though but it seems like it’s a series that grows on you the more you read it. I’m glad you’re going to keep going with the series and I can’t wait to see how you make out :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *141*

    • Bec

      Hopefully! You’ve reminded me I need to finish the Parasol Protectorate series. I’ve only read the first book

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