Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School Series #1) by Gail Carriger
Sophronia’s knack for mechanics and a tendency toward mischief are hardly desirable qualities for a Victorian lady, but they do make her an ideal recruit for Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
When the 14-year-old girl arrives, she quickly discovers her school is unlike any other. Classes taught by werewolves and vampires are merely the beginning. Along with music and dance, Sophronia is schooled in the arts of espionage and intrigue – hardly subjects her mother would approve of, but ones she takes to with passion!
However, Sophronia quickly discovers school isn’t all fun and games and soon finds herself immersed in a mystery whilst pursued by flywaymen and shady characters intent on attacking the Academy. Armed with her mechanimal, Bumbersnoot, and a group of steadfast friends, Sophronia sets out to uncover the truth and, hopefully, put a little polish on her finish before returning home for the holidays!
Etiquette & Espionage is a delightful story, and Gail Carriger does a terrific job with her young adult debut. Filled with humor and witty dialogue, the story easily entertains and keeps the reader turning the page. Carriger’s penchant for creative character names is in full force with offerings such as Temminick, Mrs. Barnaclegoose and Dimity Ann Plumleigh-Teignmott, and she delightfully weaves in a few familiar faces (albeit younger!) from her wildly popular Parasol Protectorate series.
If you’re a fan of Carriger’s earlier books, you won’t want to miss the newest addition to her colorful universe. And if, somehow, you’ve never heard of steampunk’s comedic genius, this book is a great introduction to a world turned topsy-turvy by treacle tarts, flamboyant vampires, empowered women and flying dirigibles!