Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Posted October 5, 2014 by love2dazzle in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from My Own, Paperback, Publisher on NetGallery in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail CarrigerEtiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2013-02-05
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Girls & Women, Historical, Manners & Etiquette, Robots, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: My Own, Paperback, Publisher on NetGallery

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.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 the 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. Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore.

“Etiquette and Espionage” by Gail Carriger was an very interesting story. Taking place in a bit of a steampunk world mixed with paranormal fantasy, Sophronia is sent off to finishing school. This isn’t any old finishing school, this Finishing School specializes in extracurricular activities such as espionage. Sophronia didn’t realize that she was being sent to a secret spy type school. She thought it was going to be like every other finishing school and was going too teach her how to act proper but things seem weird when Sophronia arrives, so she is bound and determined to figure out what is going on.

Sophronia decides that she may not be the lady that her mother wants her to be but she is bound and determined to excel at the espionage part of school. When there is a missing prototype that no one can seem to find hat Monique hid on her latest mission that was considered to be a failure too the finishing school. Sophronia has decided that she is going to figure out where this prototype is hidden and make sure that it gets back to the school.

I have heard a lot of great things about this book, so I decided to take a chance and finally read it. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the result. I couldn’t find myself connecting with this story at all. I was having the hardest time diving right in. I found the story to be slow and very dragging. I haven’t read any of Carriger’s previous books, so I don’t have any previous experience with her books like most others but I heard that this was a great crossover from her adult books to young adult. I strongly disagree. I feel like Carriger was writing down to her audience. Just because you are writing young adult novels doesn’t mean you talk down to your audience. I feel like very simple language was used and not much creativity. I like to enjoy and lose myself in a novel and I don’t feel like I was able to do that with this one.

I feel like the characters were strongly lacking. There didn’t seem to be much personality or uniqueness to them. I was highly disappointed in the result. i want to fall in love and feel like the characters are truly alive and I don’t feel like Carriger accomplished this at all. I feel like these characters are quite boring. Even Monique who is in some ways supposed to be the bad guy or the antagonist didn’t seem to have much to her. i feel like I really didn’t get to know these characters at all. They were just names in a book that I don’t feel any connection with at all. It amazed me how some of the minor characters seemed to be more thought out then the major characters. Soap, Pillover, and Vieve had way more personality to them than Sophronia and Dimity. I am really hoping that the characters improve with the future books.

I really like the idea of a finishing school that is also creating spies in a way but I don’t think the idea was executed very well at all. I was looking for a fun read to get hooked too especially since I am bing reading all three novels since I have an ARC of the last one and I just don’t see myself falling in love with this series. Since this is only novel one I am hoping that the sequel will be better.

I think the biggest issue I had was the lack of action going on. I really didn’t feel like the novel was going anywhere until I got to the last 10 pages. There really didn’t seem to be much going on or anything to keep you hooked. There really didn’t seem to be much of a plot or climax to the story at all. I feel like I was mainly just reading the back ground information and some world building. I feel like there was a lot of world bulding. I think world building is good but you can only have so much world building before you start to die inside. I may be sticking around for book two, but this isn’t a series that is very high on my recommendation list. So far I am disappointed in the Finishing school series by Gail Carriger.

About love2dazzle

Ali Kiki is a reader, writer, reviewer, blogger, and photographer in Portland, OR. An avid reader since childhood, you can usually find her devouring a book or stalking the bookstagram hashtag in her lovely apartment surrounded by books. Ali has been blogging since 2006 and she created Dazzled by Books in 2012. Her most recent adventure is making bookish candles for Stub Tail Candle Co., which are sold on Etsy.

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