ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE
Finishing School #1
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks
and climbing trees than proper manners -- and the family can only hope
that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate
for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in
Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
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
A fun and quirky young adult debut from Ms. Carriger, Etiquette and Espionage is packed full of engaging characters all equipped with the sense of humor fans of her Parasol Protectorate series love so dearly, ensuring that upon finishing this first installment we immediately begin counting the days until the next book releases. While this story is a bit slower in nature, it’s never dull, instead we find ourselves so charmed with the outlandish antics of young Sophronia and those attending Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality that it’s hard to miss the suspense or action. There is certainly a mystery that unfolds as Sophronia’s first semester progresses, but it feels almost secondary to the sheer entertainment we find in wondering what the characters will say or do next.
Though Sophronia is fourteen years-old and therefore may not appeal to older readers of young adult fiction, it’s important to know she comes across far more maturely than her young years (though not so much so that her age is rendered completely unbelievable) might suggest. She’s full of sass and fire, possessing a quick mind that serves to assist her in getting out of the trouble her innate curiosity so often gets her into. Her need to stick her nose into everything never once comes across as a character flaw or irritation for us as readers, instead she manages to approach all her ridiculous situations with an infectious humor, forcing a laugh out of us before that first twinge of frustration even has the chance to form.
While there are several boys of note in this tale (despite the fact that the finishing school is an all girls academy), there is no romance to be had, something that might cause a beat of hesitation for lovers of romance (like myself), but ultimately this story is all the more refreshing for its absence. In the place of romantic tension and angst we have the formation of strong friendships full of teasing and laughter, complete with rather silly and absurd names like Lord Dingleproops to keep a lighthearted smile plastered to our faces the entire time we read. A sootie named Soap does make his way onto our romance radar rather quickly and easily, but given Sophronia’s young age we don’t have much expectation for romance going in, and instead welcome their innocent friendship and mild flirting with open arms as we bask in our reprieve from relationship drama.
Overall Etiquette and Espionage is a highly amusing introduction to this series; a quieter read that gives our hearts a bit of buoyancy rather than weighing it down with pain and conflict, leaving us light, happy and thoroughly entertained.
Gail stopped by to answer a few questions yesterday as part of the promotional tour for Etiquette & Espionage, so be sure and check it out and enter for a chance to win a finished copy!