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 the bane of her mother's existence. More interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea - and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy - Mrs. Temminnick is desperate her daughter become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish all right - but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in how to finish in other ways: the fine art of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Book One of the Finishing School series.
©2013 Gail Carriger (P)2013 Hachette Audio
I adored Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and was absolutely thrilled to find that the new Finishing School series is set in the same universe. Ms. Carriger's sense of the ridiculous remains as finely honed as her sense of suspense, and the mystery is wrapped in absurdity with lovely doses of both sarcasm and comestibles thrown in.
Chronologically, this series is a prequel to the Parasol Protectorate series, and many of the adult characters there appear as teens or children in this story.
It was completely delightful to once again see characters with absurd names becoming enmeshed (sometimes literally) in kerfuffles of many varieties. The main character, Sophronia, is a spirited and independent young lady who is curious, fearless and oh, so funny. She is not afraid to take action to set things to rights, and has a gift for making friends and allies both high and low in the class-conscience Victorian society.
The finishing school is a treasure trove of steampunk devices of all kinds, and is itself a rather interesting bit of technology. Gail Carriger has come up with entirely new steam devices as well as giving the early developments in technology that is widely used during the Parasol Protectorate series.
The narrator had the same gift for sarcasm and melodrama as the previous series, but with a much younger voice that is perfect for Sophronia and company. She made the story an absolute joy to listen to and never jarred the reader out of story with mistakes or mispronunciations. This is a story that anyone would enjoy regardless of age, so do not let the young adult aspect dissuade you from listening to his story.
I can't wait for the next book, Curtsies & Conspiracies, due out in November 2013, which I hope will be Sophronia's next year at the Finishing School. And while I'm waiting I am going to listen to this one again to revel in all the finer details, and then listen to the Parasol Protectorate series (again, I never tire of it!) so I can stay a bit longer in this delightful world that Gail Carriger has created.
I may have to preface this review by saying that I have so many fond feelings for this book that they threaten to spill over into noises only dogs can hear. Possibly dolphins.
It's always a joy to find a book full of lively and interesting characters with improbably ridiculous names and go off to find adventure while learning to be proper ladies. Have you seen many books with that premise? I have not, but I'm glad this one exists.
The book itself is entertaining, highly engaging and often extremely hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud at the beautiful absurdity of the premise and many of the equally hilarious situations the characters found themselves powering through. I think it's pretty safe to say that I fell in love with nearly every character in this book, each of them wonderful and unique people, lovingly rendered, but what impressed me most about this book was the overwhelmingly positive female characterization. Here are girls who are strong in very different ways, who accept that they are different and that they are all, in their own ways, important. It's refreshing to find in any novel but especially in a YA novel because we, as girls, all struggle with issues of identity and self worth, with finding a place for ourselves while we figure out who we are, just as the girls in this book do.
Last, but not least, the narration is amazing if maybe a little more slowly paced than I'd like. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. I hope it's as lovingly absurd and engaging as this one has been.
Librarian, Avid Reader, Audiobook Addict!
I will start this review off by saying I absolutely adore Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series especially on audio narrated by Emily Gray and I do admit to missing her voice on this book, I am not saying Moira Quirk did a bad job she was actually very good but there were times when I really wanted it to be Emily the biggest difference was timing Emily’s comedic timing is better than Moira’s and she pronounced Genevieve different too, and when it is a character from the other series it was glaring and bothersome to me because of my love for Carriger’s other series and Emily Gray’s narration of said series. I am NOT saying Moira Quirk was bad please don’t think that, she was very good I just could not help the comparison the Emily Gray. Moira was a new to me narrator and her accents and characterizations were very well done and I would definitely listen to more by her.
Now onto the book, this was fun and cute maybe not as much fun as the Parasol Protectorate series but it is the first book and I expect these to get better and better just as Gail Carriger’s other series did. Sophronia was a good character , and it was fun seeing Madame Lefoux as a girl and we also have a Maccon it is the Lord’s great-great-great granddaughter Sidheag ( not the Lord himself unfortunately) but we do get Professor Lyall (Pre-Biffy unfortunately) also I am hopeful there will be more of him in future books . I did enjoy meeting the new characters and I absolutely loved the mechanimal Bumbersnoot and want one for myself! I look forward to seeing more of Sophronia she seems like a character that will have trouble following her wherever she goes and that is the fun of it all. Dimity is quite a character too. Also the finishing school itself is not what it seems it is not where young ladies go to become good wives it is a …well read it and see what kind of school it is! **No Spoilers** We again have this wonderful Victorian Steampunk World that Carriger introduced us to in the Parasol Protectorate, we again have all the wonderful steampunk machines we have come to enjoy from past books. I also adore the names she comes up with, how she does it is beyond me!
I think this will be a great introduction to the world of Gail Carriger for young adults who will then go on to read more of Carriger’s books; I think they will become lifetime fans as I have. This book is fun stuff if you are a fan of the Parasol Protectorate don’t let the Young Adult classification scare you off it is still the humor and fun that Gail Carriger is known for. I am so glad we only have to wait until November for the second book in this series!
Just a guy that likes a good story.
I do not think I can rank it in terms of other books because it stands so far apart with its unique humor and setting.
The scene where the Finishing School is first viewed is likely the most memorable simply because of the wonderful description.
I love the Maccon's so I have to say Lady Maccon (not Alexia mind you) was my favorite.
Yes. I listened to it for one entire day all at once.
Gail Carriger and Moira Quirk are a match made in Steampunk heaven. I cannot describe adequately in word how much I love all of these books. I long for the next in the series.
A light romp through Gail Carriger's Steampunk World, circa 1858, chronologically before her Parasol Protectorate series was delightful, suitable for younger readers and adults alike. Who ever thought of a finishing school for young ladies on a dirigible? Simple plot, but a world of fun.
This book is a fun & frolicking steam-punk adventure. It is filled with wonderful characters that I can't wait to get to know better. There is even a touch of the Parasol Protectorate world thrown in to make you feel like you already belong.
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. The description caught my attention and I felt like I should give it a go. This was my first foray into steampunk and I'm not usually big on Victorian era books, but I was just so enchanted by the idea of Madame Geraldine's that I had to get over my trepidation and prejudices and just listen. Glad I did. The characters are great, I look forward to see how they progress and grow. I was a little weirded out because the story built and built and then summed up in the last 10 minutes- for a minute I thought that I missed a download or something because it really did only take the last 10 minutes to end which seemed a little rushed but it was still pretty satisfying. It's a toss up for me now- do I want to go to Hogwarts or Madame Geraldine's?
Good characters, interesting world, ok plot. Con. Plot moved slowly as author spent inordinate amount of time describing dirigible and various mechanicals. More story moving and less description would have gotten 5 stars. Narrator was very good, but toward the end of the book she seemed to give a character a lisp that wasn't there to start....or I didn't notice. The character is better without the lisp
Everything. There is so much charm, fun, puns, etiquette, mystery and of course manners! You don't have to have read any other of Gail's books, though it is even more pure fun if you have!
This is a teen book, set in a prequel time period around 30 years before the Soulless series.
This is a new narrator, but she is just as amazing - Gail is one lucky author to have narrators like this one!
Sweet, fun and tart - that is this book!
Sophronia - but the whole cast is awesome.
Yes, and she is always delightful.
I laughed all the way through!
Etiquette & Espionage was a lot of fun to read. Apparently this is a spin-off from Gail Carrieger’s popular adult series, The Parasol Protectorate. Etiquette & Espionage is definitely young adult.
In the beginning of the story there is a really funny scene that had me realize these books are intended to be a fun and funny story. I mean, really, the girls are learning etiquette and espionage on a floating school and it takes a really fast, high jumping werewolf that wears a hat (even when he shifts) to herd them all onto the platform to get them to enter the school? That should tell you!
The characters are all really different. The main character, Sophronia, always seems really concerned about learning how to truly act properly, but she’s so distracted elsewhere that it almost seems like it’s too much of an inconvenience for her to actually learn how to be a lady…even though it’s not like she didn’t really want to learn. This isn’t the case for all of the characters. There’s another girl who I would really like to be consider as the “mean girl;” a girl who really only wants to be a lady and go to a proper etiquette school. And then there’s a girl who seems like she has no intention of being a lady at all. My favorite is Sophronia’s little clockwork dog. So cute! Oh…and the boy that is introduced is cute too.
There is this whole detective thing going on throughout the story, and it all unfolds in the end in a very fun way. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series.
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