Author: Gail Carrriger
Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Series: Finishing School #1
Publication: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304 pp.
Source: Publisher(Thanks Little Brown)
SynopsisThoughts: This is the first book that I've read by this author and I was initially drawn to the cover and then the plot hooked me. The story begins with Sophronia, who discovers that she has been chosen as a covert recruit, a rare thing to happen as the school is pretty exclusive but someone saw potential in her. She has no idea that this school for young ladies teaches more than the ways etiquette. On the journey to the school, she makes a new friend, Dimity, who is also on her way to the school. They believe they are traveling with Mademoiselle Geraldine, the head of the school until they get attacked by Flywaymen and in the process of escape and rescue Sophronia discovers a mystery that she is determined to uncover.
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.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.
What's great about this book is the main character, Sophronia, she's clever, witty and may not be the best lady but she makes up for that with her curiosity, bravery and observation to detail. She begins to learn the proper procedures to faint, curtsy bat her eyelashes and use a knife but she also makes an enemy set on creating havoc for her at the school. All of the girls in the school are ridiculous and funny. It's amusing to see how readily they want to be little assassins along with learning the proper ways of etiquette. .
The characters are my favorite part of this book, they are rounded, independent and realistic and I really enjoyed the interactions between them all, especially Sophronia. I think the pace of the story builds well to a satisfying conclusion with just enough information to set up for the next book. Visually, the author has created a fantastical world full of adventure and mayhem. Overall, loaded with fun and mischief, this is an absolutely good read that made me giggle on occasion at its cheeky humor.