Publisher’s summary: 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 a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. 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 realizes 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 the 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's legions of fans have come to adore.
My take: Etiquette & Espionage was a lot of fun to read. Apparently this is a spin-off from Gail Carrieger’s popular adult series, The Parasol Protectorate. Etiquette & Espionage is definitely young adult.
In the beginning of the story there is a really funny scene that had me realize these books are intended to be a fun and funny story. I mean, really, the girls are learning etiquette and espionage on a floating school and it takes a really fast, high jumping werewolf that wears a hat (even when he shifts) to herd them all onto the platform to get them to enter the school? That should tell you!
The characters are all really different. The main character, Sophronia, always seems really concerned about learning how to truly act properly, but she’s so distracted elsewhere that it almost seems like it’s too much of an inconvenience for her to actually learn how to be a lady…even though it’s not like she didn’t really want to learn. This isn’t the case for all of the characters. There’s another girl who I would really like to be consider as the “mean girl;” a girl who really only wants to be a lady and go to a proper etiquette school. And then there’s a girl who seems like she has no intention of being a lady at all. My favorite is Sophronia’s little clockwork dog. So cute! Oh…and the boy that is introduced is cute too.
There is this whole detective thing going on throughout the story, and it all unfolds in the end in a very fun way. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series.