Etiquette and Espionage


How did I get it?:
I bought it!


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 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 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.


I’m finding this book particularly hard to review. It’s my first venture into reading Gail Carriger. Whilst I did enjoy reading it, I felt like it had a very slow build and it didn’t grip me as much as I’d hoped.

I’ll start with the positives. I thought it was fun and completely silly. I didn’t realise it was directed for a 12-13 year old audience and with that in mind I think it’s fantastic for the target audience. I hadn’t experienced steampunk before which was interesting. I also really liked the Victorian element of the story. The characters were good, but I think Sophronia was the best character. She’s a strong, feisty protagonist which I like.

I did think that there was far too much going on for the size of the book. I began to find it quite confusing and personally think if some of the ideas had been condensed and expanded on then it would’ve gripped my attention more. Perhaps if I had read the series that preceded this, with the same world, I would’ve been more familiar/interested in it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!- I would recommend this book because although I don’t think I’ll continue with the series, the writing is good and it’s good, silly fun.

Reading next:
Wither- Lauren DeStefano


6 thoughts on “Etiquette and Espionage

  1. Wow, I didn’t realise those books were aimed at such a young audience either. Haven’t read this one but I liked Soulless from her other series. Would have thought it’d be more of a 14-18 target age.

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