Review – Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Posted June 17, 2019 by Carole in 2019 Audiobook Challenge, 2019 Blogger Shame, Audiobook, Book Reviews / 15 Comments

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Narrated by Moira Quirk
Series: Finishing School #1
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette Audio
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Date Read: May 28, 2019
Length: 336 pages / 8 hours 55 minutes
Source: NetGalley / Purchased

This young adult steampunk series debut set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Parasol Protectorate is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger’s legions of fans have come to adore.

Fourteen-year-old 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.

My Review

I thought that this book was just okay.  This is really a pretty generous 3 stars but I am going to go with it.  I have wanted to read Gail Carriger’s work for a very long time and I remember being excited when I got my hands on a review copy fo this book years ago.  Somehow it got lost in my tbr pile but I decided that it was time to give it a go.  It really wasn’t all that I had hoped it would be but I am glad that I gave it a read and did find many parts of the book quite enjoyable.

This book felt younger than I expected it to feel.  I do read quite a bit of YA but I thought that this story had more of a Middle Grade feel.  That is not a bad thing – just an observation.  My main issue with this story is the fact that I was often rather bored.  For some reason, I never felt any connection to the story or the characters and often found my mind wandering. 

The story revolves around Sophronia, who is sent off to Finishing School.  This isn’t like any other Finishing School.  While she is taught important things such as how to curtsey properly, she is also trained in the art of espionage.  I thought the school was pretty interesting and enjoyed seeing all of the various steampunk elements that present.  There were a few more intense scenes that I thought were really well done as well.

I thought that Moira Quirk did a good job with this book.  She was able to represent all of the different characters very well with her voice.  I thought that the dialogue in the story flowed quite nicely.  I found that she read the book at a nice pace and had no issues listening to her narration for long periods of time.

I think that this is a book that other reader might like a bit more than I did.  I thought that the book did many things quite well but I was often bored and eager to finish the book so that I could move on to something else.  I do hope to read more from Gail Carriger soon but I will probably choose a book from a different series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Little Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger writes to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She survived her early years by reading most of her local library and memorizing Greek battles. Eventually she escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. In pursuit of further finishing, Ms. Carriger traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. In the Finishing School series, she takes her readers back to a time before the Parasol Protectorate, explaining the mysteries of her steampunk world and visiting a few old friends.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

15 responses to “Review – Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

  1. I remember liking this book but I never got around to finishing the series, story of my life! I am trying hard to fix that this year by trying to start and finish some series I have been wanting to or catch up on some. 🙂

  2. I've been wanting to read this forever and I think after reading your review I'm very glad I have it on audio. I'm a lot more patient with audio than I am with print. Too bad this wasn't better for you. The premise sounds so good so that's always extra disappointing.

  3. I thought about this one a few times, I had had this series recommended to me by a blogger who thought I might like it. Haven't tried 'em yet though. The fact that it maybe reads a little younger kinda has me hesitating though in spite of the clockwork- looking elements.

  4. I can forgive getting irritated in a book, but being bored is worse.

    Yes, give her Parasol Protectorate series a try. They're different, but not boring. LOL

  5. I have that happen sometimes. I get a bit bored and just want to get through the book. It sure has a great cover.

  6. What a pity that this was a bit disappointing for you. They need to be sure they are marketing books correctly to avoid this problem for readers.

  7. I haven't read this series yet and only read the first two in her other one but I loved those. She's an author who I keep meaning to revisit and then I go and read something else.

  8. I have seen this author and I think I have the first book in another series either as a freebie or it's at my library. I am not always interested in MG or even YA books. I mostly prefer to read about adults. Great review!

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  9. I actually have wanted to read this one for a while too because I like steampunk so much. But it sounds like in the end this one disappointed you quite a bit :/ And a shame about it feeling for a younger age audience than expected! Not a bad thing, but when unexpected it can hinder enjoyment…