REVIEW #106: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Series: Finishing School #1
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 5th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 307 pages
Source: Audiobook from the Library

Summary 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.

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. Temminick 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 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 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 Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.

Etiquette & Espionage quickly transports you to a steam punk world with neat inventions, werewolves, flying carraiges, vampires, and crazy floating etiquette schools. The setting is well developed and quite unique. Sophronia is a cover recruit at the at Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality; a cover recruit is an individual that is unaware of the type of school they just agreed in attend, essentially someone who does not have a family legacy. She has no idea what she was getting into but as a 14 year old troublemaker she can definitely handle herself :) Sophronia is faced with drama from the moment she is picked up to leave for school. She must learn to be a proper lady while trying to figure out what her nemesis is hiding and why. 

FUN. Is literally the best way I have to describe this book. The plot is a bit slow at times but for the most part the story was pretty action filled.  Sophronia and her friends are always doing things that could get them into trouble. There are no real ‘heavy’ aspects to the book, so it is easy to just sit back and enjoy the witty lines and fascinating world. If you are looking for romance, this may not be the book for you. The story revolves around Sophronia and her classmates focusing on the development of their friendship and the mystery at hand (no romance, though there is some set up for some down the line). 

Holy crazy names. I struggled attempting to pronounce at least half the names in this book. Here are some examples: Sopronia, Dimity, Frowbritcher, Sidheag, Lefoux, Braithwope! While it didn’t change my feelings towards to book, it did make it a bit more challenging to keep the terms and people straight.  This is how I felt trying to say them :)

Etiquette and Espionage was a fun light-hearted read; I do wish there were more espionage aspects in the story but it was a solid four stars. I would say Etiquette and Espionage would be the product of mixing Gallagher Girls’ fun spy school setting with a well executed steampunk setting. I definitely recommend if you want a easy read and enjoy steampunk.



  1. Soulless (first book from her adult series) was filled with FUN FUN FUN. I can't wait to see her YA work too :D


    1. I got Souless a while ago from a used book store, I plan to check it out when my TBR pile dwindles.

  2. I hear nothing but good things about all of her books! I hear that this one takes place in the same setting as her adult series! Basically I need to read them all! Hahahaha, I like what you had to say about the names! Sounds like there are some winners in the book!

  3. Oh jeeze. Those names are something. But those kinds of books are usually the best ones. I loved Dealing with Dragons as a kid, and that had some twisty names.

  4. This sounds exactly like the type of read I could go for right now - something lighter and fun, that's more about the friendships being built than the angst between lovers. Those names definitely throw me off a little, but I think I could get past it for a fun read!

  5. Oh goodness. I thought this book sounded like so much fun (glad it is!), but yeah, those names sound.. ridiculous. Did it ever mention why the names were so... weird. Or is it some unnamed worldbuilding?


  6. I loved loved loved this book! It was great! I am so excited to read the second installment! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful review! Best of wishes and keep up all your hard work!

  7. Those names are certainly a mouthful! As an avid fantasy reader though, I'm fairly certain I could manage them, particularly if the rest of the book turns out to be really fun. I think that this sounds delightful! Will definitely keep it in mind :)


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