Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review: Etiquette & Espionage - 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.

Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners. 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 realises 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.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

Finishing School Series:
(This is a YA series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set 25 years before the first book)
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponry
Manners & Mutiny

Delightfully Deadly:
(A series of standalone adult novellas set in the Parasol Protectorate world featuring characters you may recognise from the other series, they fit into the timeline between the Finishing School and Parasol Protectorate books)
Poison or Protect
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Parasol Protectorate Series:
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (Novella)
Soulless
Changeless
Blameless
Heartless
Timeless

Custard Protocol Series:
(This is another adult series set in the Parasol Protectorate world but set several decades after the last book)
Prudence
Imprudence (2016)

Visit Gail Carriger's website for more information

Review:
I really enjoyed Soulless so when I found out Gail Carriger was writing a YA series set in the same world I couldn't wait to read it, add in the fact that the Etiquette and Espionage is set in a finishing school that teaches students the art of spying along with how to pull off the perfect curtsy and I was sold. Reading this actually reminded me how much I loved Soulless and made me realise I need to finish reading the Parasol Protectorate series as soon as possible. Gail Carriger creates stories that are full of humour, have fabulous settings (just wait until you arrive at the Finishing School!) and wonderful characters and Etiquette and Espionage has all that and more.

Sophronia is horrified when she finds out that her mother is sending her away to a finishing school, she is expecting to hate every minute of it and is utterly convinced she'll never be able to fit in but she quickly finds out that things at the school aren't what she was led to believe. While she is taught about manners, the right clothes and how she should act she is also learning how to be the perfect spy and that is a lot more fun than her dance classes. I love how strong willed Sophronia is, she doesn't want to conform to the expectations of how a lady should behave and would much rather be investigating a crime than sitting quietly doing embroidery. She is smart, intelligent and determined which are all useful traits for a spy to have but her sense of curiosity has a tendency of getting her into trouble because she finds it impossible to mind her own business. She is also a loyal friend who looks out for those she cares about and stands up for what she believes in.

We are introduced to a great selection of side characters in the form of Sophronia's classmates and she has a habit of collecting friends in unusual places which keeps things interesting. Although a lot of the story is focused on building the world and introducing our main characters there is also an interesting mystery surrounding a strange missing prototype that Sophronia takes it upon herself to find. One of the highlights for me was Sophronia's pet, Bumbersnoot, who was constantly making me smile. I love the creativity of the story, everything from the finishing school and Sophronia's crazy antics to the amusing chapter headings (little gems like "Never hurl garlic mash at a man with a crossbow") has been well thought through and just adds to the atmosphere. This is a series I can't wait to continue and I definitely feel a Parasol Protectorate reading binge coming on!

Source: Received from Atom in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

4 comments:

  1. I agree, bumbersnoot is the highlight of the book. I didn't like it as much as you did because i thought it was a bit childish but i'm happy you did!

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juhina, it's a shame you didn't enjoy this as much as you hoped. I loved Bumbersnoot and the humour just had me smiling the whole way through :o)

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  2. Hi Sarah,
    I think I am interested to read this series thanks to your review. =)
    Have a great day and happy reading.

    Regards, allhafizol @ Coffee&Crackers
    Read my latest review: http://coffeencrackers.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/book-review-parasite-by-mira-grant-3/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Allhafizol, I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did, it's such a fun read & I'm really looking forward to picking up the sequel :o)

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