[Review] Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carringer

Friday, March 01, 2013

Title: Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Format: Hardcover, 307 pages
Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal, YA
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Hachette, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC received by publisher for honest review

Amazon | Chapters | TBD | Kobo


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.

Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners -- and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But 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.

My Thoughts
First of all I want to give some Cover Love to this book because wow, this cover is amazing. Not only are the colours amazing and the picture itself is gorgeous but it is so very eye catching and I love it!

Now saying that, I left this book a little disappointed. I knew that it would involved steampunk, a genre I am not that familiar with but am starting to get more accustomed to. Aside from the Steampunk genre, there are also elements of paranormal which were very interesting, especially when I was not expecting it. I thought that these two genres were molded quite well and that this series has great potential, especially when you take into account all of the characters that we are introduced to throughout the novel.

The one issue I had, and this was a biggy for me, was that of the protagonist. She is 14 and a young fourteen at that. Now I have nothing against this age, and I thought it brought a sort of innocence to the novel, which was nice. But I went into this book thinking in was a higher YA, and I felt that it was more Middle Grade. It was lacking in intensity and in detail. '

While reading it I was reminded of the first Harry Potter book and how simple it was, but how much potential it had as a long series. And I feel the same with this book. I think as a series it has great potential, but I think they put it in the wrong category. I know that 14 is the age of most readers of YA, i just think that it was a young fourteen and it would serve better in the Middle Grade genre.

Aside from the category tug of war, I thought the book was engaging and intriguing overall, and will definitely entertain lovers of steampunk and of the Adult Gail Carriger series. I just wanted a little bit more.

3.5 /5 Stars

You Might Also Like


  1. I started reading this last week, but put it down and haven't picked it back up yet. I think the biggest reason is for what you stated. I was shocked when I learned she's 14. The cover may be nice to look at, but there's no way that model is close to 14. And from how the book was described, I guess I just assumed older. I think I wouldn't have put it down if it wasn't for that. But I'll pick it back up one of these days.

  2. I have been so curious about this one, I have heard great things about her adult series but, I am not a steampunk fan and I tend not to finish the one's that I start if they are, I know what you mean when you say that a book is too young. I don't know if I will be reading this one but,thanks for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  3. So many people seem to be disappointed with this book, but I'm glad you think it has potential! And from everything I've read - I think you're right that this book would have been bettered served with a MG label