“Etiquette & Espionage” was published in 2013 and was written by Gail Carriger (http://www.gailcarriger.com). Ms. Carrier has published nine books, this being the first of “The Finishing School” series.
I obtained a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I would categorize this Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy novel as ‘G’. The novel is written in the first person and is set in 1851 era England. Though this England is rich with steam powered devices and primitive robots. Rather benign vampires are a significant part of society, and werewolves have made up the backbone of England’s military for some years. The primary character is 14 year old Saphronia Temminnick. She is the youngest child of her family and has a reputation for trouble.
She is sent off to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality by her parents in the hopes that her rough edges will be removed and she can find a proper husband. Little do they know that the Academy is far from the normal Finishing School. Certainly the normally expected subjects are taught, but in addition, the young ladies of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy are being taught the skills needed to be an Intelligencer.
Saphoronia does not want to be sent the the school, but once there she fits in well and excels in all of the classes. On the way to the school, Saphoronia is involved in a skirmish with Skywaymen searching for a secret device. Once at the Academy, which turns out to be suspended beneath three large dirigibles, Sophoronia’s talent for mischief is unleashed. Before long she has engaged three of her fellow students in a search for the mysterious device.
I enjoyed the 6 hours I spent with this story. The plot was not a surprise, but I liked the Steampunk creations that Ms. Carriger wove into the story. The characters in the story are typical of those found in Young Adult novels. The book reminds me of the Harry Potter books in some respects. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
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