Customer Reviews for

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 119 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

I am a long time fan of Gail Carriger¿s Parasol Protectorate ser

I am a long time fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and was crushed when the series ended.  Etiquette & Espionage takes place in the same universe, but is set a generation earlier and I was delighted to meet some characters from the original series w...
I am a long time fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and was crushed when the series ended.  Etiquette & Espionage takes place in the same universe, but is set a generation earlier and I was delighted to meet some characters from the original series when they were much younger.




This new series, Finishing School, is written for the Young Adult market and I was concerned with how that would be handled.  A number of authors who normally write for adults have started writing for teens and it is not always a success.  Gail Carriger, however, managed it beautifully.




The characters fit well into the steampunk world developed in the original series and their personalities and style of speech are consistent with what I have learned to love and expect from Carriger.  




She shows that girls are girls, whether they live in our boring, mundane world or a world consisting of dirigibles, vampires and werewolves.  Some of them have strong, confident personalities whereas others are more concerned with their looks and prestige than they are with their character.




One of the things I liked about this book is that it is not a romance.  I am a high school librarian and most of the books written with female leads revolve around a romantic relationship.  Etiquette & Espionage focused on friendships, patriotism, and derring-do. Boys are discussed (these are teen girls after all), but there is not a focus on any one person.




Book two, Curtsies & Conspiracies is due out in November.  I wonder if Sophronia will finally learn to curtsy.  After all, in Victorian England that is just as important as sword fighting.

posted by ElaineReads on February 11, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

I believe that Etiquette & Espionage has one of the pretties

I believe that Etiquette & Espionage has one of the prettiest covers of 2013 (so far). Also, a finishing school that actually equips you to become not only a "lady" (don't get me started on how anti-feminist that is) but also an assassin or informant? Sign...
I believe that Etiquette & Espionage has one of the prettiest covers of 2013 (so far). Also, a finishing school that actually equips you to become not only a "lady" (don't get me started on how anti-feminist that is) but also an assassin or informant? Sign me up please! (the assassin part). Also, the steampunk world of Etiquette & Espionage is set in the 19th century, on a floating school. yes floating school, that has werewolf and vampire teachers, and a brother school named "The School of Evil Geniuses".... I will give you a minute to process all of this before diving into the plot and characters. 
Ok, you guys ready to move on? 
The main protagonist, Sophronia (that is a mouthful!) is the youngest daughter of many sisters and brothers.. she is deemed as the troublesome child in the family and one that is too interested in technology (how horrifying) and forgets that she is a lady. Her mother and sisters got fed up with Sophronia's troublemaking streak and problematic antics she gets into that they jump at the chance when the headmistress of The Finishing Academy For Young Ladies Of Quality proposes she starts attending her school. In less than half an hour they pack Sophronia's necessities and ship her off with the headmistress. Little did they know that her education will be a bit more than classes on posture, tea drinking etiquette, and the right level of curtsy. 
I really really loved the premise of Etiquette & Espionage but I felt that I would have connected so much more with the main protagonist if she was older than 14. I felt this book was more middle grade thank young adult, especially with the innocent aura I got from all the characters. I mean a school that teaches you to become assassins should have been exciting and action packed but we get almost no attendance into any of the kick butt classes I was hoping to witness. I was thinking more along the lines of Tris's situations in Divergent but we mostly get to read about Sophronia's lack of a proper curtsy and a vampire that always annoyingly ends his sentences with the word "Whot!". 
I liked the plot, I really did, even with all the complicated steampunk terminology, I was still able to follow the plot, something that usually doesn't happen when I read steampunks. I have to say I loved the idea of mechanimals (yes! an animal that is constructed using metals) and how Sophronia cared for one as an actual pet. However, I struggled with all the names of the characters in this story, some were impossible to pronounce. The antagonist was interesting but I honestly saw no character development in this novel. Maybe it was neglected because the focus was mainly put on the school as well as searching for the prototype that the antagonist hid. 
To try and end this review at a reasonable length, where I could write for ages about this book because so much happens in it, I did enjoy Etiquette & Espionage and would have enjoyed it way more if I was maybe 5 to 7 years younger. It has a bit of a Gallagher Girl vibe but with steampunk and a younger protagonist. I recommend it to middle grade book readers as well as fans of steampunk who don't mind a protagonist that is younger than your average YA character. 

posted by majibookshelf on February 9, 2013

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  • Posted February 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I believe that Etiquette & Espionage has one of the pretties

    I believe that Etiquette & Espionage has one of the prettiest covers of 2013 (so far). Also, a finishing school that actually equips you to become not only a "lady" (don't get me started on how anti-feminist that is) but also an assassin or informant? Sign me up please! (the assassin part). Also, the steampunk world of Etiquette & Espionage is set in the 19th century, on a floating school. yes floating school, that has werewolf and vampire teachers, and a brother school named "The School of Evil Geniuses".... I will give you a minute to process all of this before diving into the plot and characters. 
    Ok, you guys ready to move on? 
    The main protagonist, Sophronia (that is a mouthful!) is the youngest daughter of many sisters and brothers.. she is deemed as the troublesome child in the family and one that is too interested in technology (how horrifying) and forgets that she is a lady. Her mother and sisters got fed up with Sophronia's troublemaking streak and problematic antics she gets into that they jump at the chance when the headmistress of The Finishing Academy For Young Ladies Of Quality proposes she starts attending her school. In less than half an hour they pack Sophronia's necessities and ship her off with the headmistress. Little did they know that her education will be a bit more than classes on posture, tea drinking etiquette, and the right level of curtsy. 
    I really really loved the premise of Etiquette & Espionage but I felt that I would have connected so much more with the main protagonist if she was older than 14. I felt this book was more middle grade thank young adult, especially with the innocent aura I got from all the characters. I mean a school that teaches you to become assassins should have been exciting and action packed but we get almost no attendance into any of the kick butt classes I was hoping to witness. I was thinking more along the lines of Tris's situations in Divergent but we mostly get to read about Sophronia's lack of a proper curtsy and a vampire that always annoyingly ends his sentences with the word "Whot!". 
    I liked the plot, I really did, even with all the complicated steampunk terminology, I was still able to follow the plot, something that usually doesn't happen when I read steampunks. I have to say I loved the idea of mechanimals (yes! an animal that is constructed using metals) and how Sophronia cared for one as an actual pet. However, I struggled with all the names of the characters in this story, some were impossible to pronounce. The antagonist was interesting but I honestly saw no character development in this novel. Maybe it was neglected because the focus was mainly put on the school as well as searching for the prototype that the antagonist hid. 
    To try and end this review at a reasonable length, where I could write for ages about this book because so much happens in it, I did enjoy Etiquette & Espionage and would have enjoyed it way more if I was maybe 5 to 7 years younger. It has a bit of a Gallagher Girl vibe but with steampunk and a younger protagonist. I recommend it to middle grade book readers as well as fans of steampunk who don't mind a protagonist that is younger than your average YA character. 

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 11, 2013

    I am a long time fan of Gail Carriger¿s Parasol Protectorate ser

    I am a long time fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and was crushed when the series ended.  Etiquette & Espionage takes place in the same universe, but is set a generation earlier and I was delighted to meet some characters from the original series when they were much younger.




    This new series, Finishing School, is written for the Young Adult market and I was concerned with how that would be handled.  A number of authors who normally write for adults have started writing for teens and it is not always a success.  Gail Carriger, however, managed it beautifully.




    The characters fit well into the steampunk world developed in the original series and their personalities and style of speech are consistent with what I have learned to love and expect from Carriger.  




    She shows that girls are girls, whether they live in our boring, mundane world or a world consisting of dirigibles, vampires and werewolves.  Some of them have strong, confident personalities whereas others are more concerned with their looks and prestige than they are with their character.




    One of the things I liked about this book is that it is not a romance.  I am a high school librarian and most of the books written with female leads revolve around a romantic relationship.  Etiquette & Espionage focused on friendships, patriotism, and derring-do. Boys are discussed (these are teen girls after all), but there is not a focus on any one person.




    Book two, Curtsies & Conspiracies is due out in November.  I wonder if Sophronia will finally learn to curtsy.  After all, in Victorian England that is just as important as sword fighting.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    So Much FUN!!

    This books was so much fun. You will enjoy this book even if you haven't read the Parasol Protectorate series. If you have read the Parasol Protectorate you will find all sorts of little character gems in her. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun light read. Carriger has started another great series!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Recommend

    Very quick and interesting read. I couldn't put the book down and am disappointed that I will have to wait so long until the next book comes out.
    Maybe I'll give the adult books a try.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    This is the start of a prequel series to the Parasol Protectorat

    This is the start of a prequel series to the Parasol Protectorate. Really enjoyed meeting new friends and old. Carriger's typical wit and eccentricities shine through once more. Highly recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Anonymous

    I picked up this book at the library expecting a historical fiction. It's steam punk. Though I don't usually (aka. never) like steam punk, after the initial shock when I realised that my historical fiction was not to be, I settled into the plot and began to enjoy it. In fact, I can safely say that I will be reading the rest of this series, which is a first for me, steam punk wise. I reccomend this series for any girl who likes a little adventure, mystery, and of course etiquette in their books, whether or nor they like steam punk.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Gail Carriger¿s Etiquette & Espionage, Finishing School the

    Gail Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage, Finishing School the First, is a marvelous blend of Victorian age
    etiquette and society, and steampunk espionage. Fourteen year old Sophronia Temminnick is the heroine of
    the book, a girl of a well-to-do family who has absolutely no interest in the norms of her gender and class,
    instead preferring to spend her days gallivanting about, getting into endless trouble. Her mother is at her wits
    end with her, when in comes the mysterious head of a famous and exclusive boarding school, offering her a
    place. Against her wishes, Sophronia is whisked off to boarding school, and to a new world of steampunk
    Victorian age espionage and assassination. 

    This is a phenomenal start to what seems to be becoming a phenomenal series, focused on a girl that doesn’t
    need to rely on anyone, fiercely independent, and absolutely hilarious. I can’t wait for her next book, Gail’s
    Finishing School series are clearly on their way to becoming a favorite among anyone who loves steampunk,
     strong girl heroines, espionage, or just a fantastic page turner. I can’t wait for the next!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    The book was great and was a fast read. I can¿t wait until the n

    The book was great and was a fast read. I can’t wait until the next one comes out! From the perspective of a teenager who reads anything and everything and reviews books for my high school library, I will be reading more of Gail's books. Etiquette & Espionage was one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was classy and sophisticated and very well written. my favorite character was defiantly Soap, he’s funny and charming and very much likes Sopronia, and the fact that he risks so much for her just makes me happy. I do not like Monique, I understand that every story needs a Monique but she needs to get herself together and put on her “big spy petticoats”! I think that leaving the real Mademoiselle in the dark about the truth of the school was a great touch. The one part of the book that bugged me was the stereotypical “vampire vs. werewolf” fight it has been over used way too much even though the way it was resolved was clever. Overall this is a great read for anyone because it leaves out all of the inappropriateness of today’s era.
    I am also a huge fan of Ally Carter who has the "Gallagher Girls" series, this is a more modern series but great none the less and if you like this book you will like Ally's work!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    The unique character names and style of writing make the story c

    The unique character names and style of writing make the story creative and unlike most other YA books I have read before. The Steampunk spy edge gives it a rememberable touch. I can't wait for the next three books in the series. Curtsies and Conspiracies, the sequal to Etiquette and Espionage is expected to come out in November, and Carriger is currently writing the third book, Waistcoats and Weaponry. It does take a few pages to get used to the nineteenth century slang, yet by the time the book is over, you miss it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    No, I haven't read the Parasol Protectorate series. I understand

    No, I haven't read the Parasol Protectorate series. I understand the comparisons made between this new prequel series and the PP books but dear reviewers, remember that the audience is quite different. I appreciate reading about a strong-willed protagonist whose main focus is not on hooking up with her brother's best friend or the bad boy at school because many of my middle school students aren't interested in that plot line. Yes, the book reads younger than many YA novels but is that a bad thing? I think not.
    Sophronia, 14, doesn't realize that the finishing school she has been sent to attend includes teachers who are vampires and werewolves. One of her classmates is clearly a liar and not a nice person who has a secret which she refuses to reveal. Sophronia enlists her friends, both classmates and "sooties," to find that which has been hidden and to save her school from the evil flywaymen. This fun romp will appeal to fans of the Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter and the Airborn series by Kenneth Oppel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love this author. Since I adore her adult series, I knew w





    I love this author. Since I adore her adult series, I knew without a doubt that this book must be read!




    First off, her writing it about the same as her adult series expect for teens. Talk over tea, handsome gentlemen and of course a secret society under the guise of a school. I love it. Every plot twist and new exploration of the world the author created only lead me deeper into the story. It flowed nicely, never wavering or leaving the reader behind. I really enjoyed the main character Sophronia. Her spunky attitude and quick remarks always had me laughing or snickering.




    There's not really a love interest yet still, I'm anxious to see what will happen ext. Sophronia made both  friends and enemies quick. She is a fast learner who will have her work cut out for her.




    This is a great steampunk story. With amazing world-building and great adventure, I'm glad that I took this journey. A pleasant and sophisticated adventure, Etiquette & Espionage is quite the story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2015

      Etiquette & Espionage was my first foray into steampunk. I

      Etiquette & Espionage was my first foray into steampunk. It cemented my love of the genre and of Gail Carriger's writing! There were just so many cool things to discover! Airships, werewolves, mechanicals, and vampires, oh my! I still can't believe that I'd never dabbled in steampunk before.

      Sophronia is my kind of girl! She was fearless when it came to asking questions and getting answers. I admired that in her so much. In the midst of her life being turned upside down, she stayed true to herself. She makes Etiquette & Espionage such a fun read with her refreshing characteristics. All of the secondary characters were wonderful, too! I was blown away with the way that Gail Carriger wrote all of them. They were all unique individuals and I loved every single one of them. (Except Monique. She's up to no good. Guarantee it.)

      Gosh, can I just gush about how fun Etiquette & Espionage was? It was just a really good book. It was so easy to get lost in the world of Mademoiselle Geraldine's. It reminded me a lot of how it felt to get lost in the world of Harry Potter way back when. It required me to be present while reading, but it was just so fun. I know I need a new word, but that's really what this book was for me. It was an adventure!

      With just one book, Gail Carriger has converted me. I'm already crossing my fingers that Santa fills my stocking with the rest of her books. The world of Sophronia and Mademoiselle Geraldine's is a world that I loved visiting and I can't wait to visit again!

    **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

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  • Posted January 15, 2015

    Etiquette & Espionage  by Gail Carriger This Net Galley book

    Etiquette & Espionage 
    by Gail Carriger
    This Net Galley book is about a Finishing school is just what is need for this rascal of an young girl as is Sophronia... but the school her parents send her to is more than she imagined... this turn of the age Steampunk story has great characters a mystery and a tale of finding oneself all rolled into one exciting adventure. The characters are endearing, and you are routing for their endeavor. I have passed this book on to my daughter, who thinks its interesting. 

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  • Posted December 29, 2014

    Great read for any age

    My Daughter gave it to me to read after she had finished it - Great story line, humor and one liners. (Great for any age) Purchased the other two in the series after reading it so I could binge read. (buy all three at once)

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  • Posted December 3, 2014

    This book was such a fun surprise! I expected to like it, but I

    This book was such a fun surprise! I expected to like it, but I didn't expect it to be so quirky and funny. It's a steampunk novel intended for younger YA readers, although older teens will like it too.

    The characters are hilarious and they all have distinct personality traits to make them memorable. I loved Sophronia, Monique, and Soap the most, but Vieve, Dimity, and Pillover were wonderful additions. I also loved the setting—an airship suspended over the moors of England served as a unique and unconventional school where young ladies learn to "finish" whatever or whomever needs finishing.

    If you are looking for a clean, fun book for your teen to read, you'll definitely want to investigate this series.

    Content: a (very) small bit of innuendo

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Classic Gail Carriger

    As with the Parasol Protectorate Series, this tale is hilarious, filled with unique and unforgettable characters, and entertained me from start to finish. The story takes place about 20 years or so prior to the Parasol Protectorate Series, and several of the characters of that series appear here as children.

    Fun read!

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  • Posted October 11, 2014

    Loved

    Loved

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  • Posted October 2, 2014

    Readers first meet 14 year old Sophronia when she is in her fami

    Readers first meet 14 year old Sophronia when she is in her family's dumbwaiter trying to ease drop on one of her mother's visitors. This does not go as planned and Sophronia soon finds herself whisked away to finishing school.




    This is a fun novel. It is important to note that it is a steampunk novel set in the victorian era. This adds to its charm, but took a bit to understand.




    Unknowingly Sophronia has stumbled into a life very different than what she and her mother thought she would be getting at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. 




    I really liked Gail Carriger's Etiquette and Espionage. The plot was fun and engaging. There was no sappy plot line that led to Sophronia in the middle of a love triangle. It was just the adventures of a spunky young girl trying to grow up and not lose herself. 




    The plot was interesting and kept me guessing. There were several loose ends that I would guess will be tied up in the series later books. The main plot points, however, were finished and made this a stand alone book. I will probably be looking into the rest of the series (book three comes out November 5!) and the one that came before it, but is set later.A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 1, 2014

    ¿Etiquette and Espionage¿ is a wonderful and whimsical introduct

    “Etiquette and Espionage” is a wonderful and whimsical introduction into the world of historical steampunk fiction for the middle reader.

    Based around a floating finishing school that also trains young women to become spies in the Victorian era, the subject is rich before a single word was written.  The attention to detail in describing the machines and general steampunk ideas is amazing and inspires the imagination.

    Added into the plot is a great history lesson about the customs of the era mixed with a great deal of satire concerning the way a “proper lady” should dress and behave.  I found myself laughing at several points in the adventure at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.  To counter the customs of the day, the author presents a host of very strong female characters and how they are, in fact, equal to men.

    There is fantasy type violence, though none graphic, and questionable morality that is presented in a tongue-in-cheek-manner that no reader after fifth grade will see as an example of appropriate behavior, making it a great read for those making the leap from children’s books to young adult.  My only caveat is that the language is a bit difficult to get used to, so it is not a good choice for the more reluctant readers.

    But don’t let the children have all of the fun.  “Etiquette and Espionage” is a fun read for adults who are children at heart.

    This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    I love this series!!!!!! It deserves WAY more than 5 stars!!!

    This is my favorite series EVER, and that is definitely saying something!! :) Read this book, and the next- it is most definite that, if you're like me, you'll love finishing school just as much as Sophronia does.( Which is a LOT!!!) I can't wait until the next book comes out!!!

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