Josh Reviews: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Posted October 5, 2013 by Joshua Burns in Josh, Reviews, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Josh Reviews: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Published on: February 5th 2013
Genres: Werewolves
Pages: 312
Format: Hardcover
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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.

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.



O, Etiquette & Espionage, why must your mistress be so harsh?  She deigns to set you within the same universe as her popular ‘Less series and, against all proper manners of introduction, draws out the agonizing wait for whatever connecting crumbs are to be found.

Our new protagonist, Sophronia Temminick (ugh, the names only get worse from here), seems to bear no relationship to our previous heroine, except quite possibly in spirit.   One must, though, admire that consistent spunk, encouraging her to scale great heights in this steampunk uni as if a fall from such a protrusion would not spell ruin.

Set at a hyper elite school for reputable women, this bookish contraption really wants to pack up the world of ‘Less and nest it within Hogwart’s popular framework.   It does accomplish this much.   Classes & faculty are satisfactorily colorful.   The students are another matter.

Sophronia lacks an origin of any gravity.   She just plays the misbehavin’ tune morning, noon, and night.   Are her hijinks admirable?   Yes.   Are they daring?   Yes!   Are they dangerous?   Yes, yes!   But her motivation, aside from being the youngest in a large Victorian steampunk family, merely the witness of her sibling’s accomplishments, cannot hold up for a whole ‘nother book.   Or, then again considering the ‘Less structure i.e. less than motivated (unless it be of treacle tarts & topping hats), this product of a harsh mistress should reproduce itself just fine.

Her fellow underclassmen, maybe due to their youth, come across as shallow.   All of them just have a family name at stake, for which they must become well-mannered and a mite dangerous.   But, contrary to Sophronia with nothing to prove or, seemingly, gain, they coast and play second fiddle, third bassoon, and fourth clarinet respectively.   Fortunately there is potential for them to grow, which they really should.

Let me return to some of the unfavorable names: Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Petunia, Dimity, Bumbersnoot, and Preshea (to name a handful).   What evil genius comes up with these abominations of articulation, these trainwrecks of consonants, these parodies of parroting?   The same one who is so greedy about those connections…

Books in this series:

Recommended: For precocious youngun’s
Like this, like that: The Arkwell Academy series by Mindee Arnett and the Falconer series by Elizabeth May
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Reviews UF/PR novels with an eye for weres of all kinds.

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One response to “Josh Reviews: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

  1. Krista

    I didn’t think I would like this one because it was YA, but it was really great.