Customer Reviews for

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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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

12 out of 13 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. 

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2014

    I have yet to read Gail Carriger's The Parasol Protectorate seri

    I have yet to read Gail Carriger's The Parasol Protectorate series but I was very curious to see what her spin-off series for teens would be like. Etiquette & Espionage ended up being an intriguing read by the end, although I wasn't too sure about it for the first half.




    Reason to Read:




    1. An endearing adventure:




    By the end of the book, I was quite taken in with this fun little story. The characters and world charmed me, with their quirks and fascinating little details. I liked Sophronia's spunky, tomboy personality and how she finds a way to apply herself to her learning... in her own unique way. I love that the characters in this story are a little bit different and very normal - perfect for readers to relate to.




    While the book ended up being a lot of fun for me, it took me a while to come around and appreciate it. I don't think this spin-off series is the best place to start for those who haven't read The Parasol Protectorate series. I felt very lost and confused at first, because the world was so unfamiliar as was the language used. I needed more explanation and it just wasn't there, so the world felt disappointingly underdeveloped to me.




    But at the same time, for much of the book Etiquette & Espionage felt more like a middle grade read as opposed to a young adult book. Sophronia is 14 in the book, and while I think this would be a great book for many middle grade readers I'm not sure it has much crossover appeal for those who liked Gail's adult series. The book felt very young at first, although by the end it seemed to venture closer to standard YA territory. 




    That being said, I enjoyed Etiquette & Espionage even if it wasn't quite what I was expecting. By the end I felt like I had found my rhythm with this book so that I had a better sense of the world structure. 




    ARC received from HBG Canada for review; no other compensation was received.

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  • Posted July 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Etiquette and Espionage wasn¿t a bad book by any means but no ma

    Etiquette and Espionage wasn’t a bad book by any means but no matter how hard I tried, it just could not grab my interest.

    What I did love about it and what kept me reading was the characters, despite their unfortunate names. Sophronia was a breath of fresh air. Spunky, adventurous, blunt and just so much fun! All of the secondary characters, right down to the malevolent Monique were also very well done and fascinating. I would love to get more history on the schools professors and Headmistress as well.

    This was also the first book I’ve read in the Steampunk style, and I actually greatly enjoyed it even though it was a bit of an adjustment. Carriger’s world is fabulously well built, with just the right balance between the traditional Victorian time period and the alternative technologically advanced Steampunky universe. What didn’t work for me was that I felt like nothing was really happening at all. It took 110 pages for me to become invested in the storyline and only about 60 or more pages for me to lose interest again. There is lots of underhanded girl snark and lots of Sophronia exploring the school but not a lot else, which made for a very boring, if well written, read.

    However, it was intriguing enough that I will be checking out Carriger’s other books and I will probably read any sequels to this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Not what I expected

    I enjoyed the book and the characters. The school is also wonderous and exciting. Yet I thought it would be more of a YA Teen novel instead of middle grade. It was slow to start but like I said it was enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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