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
It was a cute book about a spunky teenager in a Victorian-like steampunk world. I was expecting a book about a finishing school that defies social norms to teach women to be spies, however this is not that kind of book. They instead integrate spying into how to be a socially appropriate lady and I didn't like that as much. I feel like the emphasis in the book was almost more on being ladylike than it was on how to be a spy and that didn't appeal to me. The story is pretty good anyway and I like how clever and troublesome the main character is. I probably won't read more of the series though.
I can’t rave enough about this book. I’d heard about it, and it blew my expectations out of the water. From the beginning (the trifle incident) to the very end, I was hooked. This is a wonderful introduction to steampunk for younger readers, and Sophronia and her schoolmates (and other friends who aren’t her classmates) make a great team that I think young adults of all ages can get attached to. Just the concept of fine young ladies learning to become spies along with learning manners and fashion is spectacular. Add in the boys’ school (for evil geniuses) and you’ve got a subculture for a world that is already interesting. This is a brilliant combination of history and near-irreverence. Even the humor fits in with the period, but it tickled me in some of the most wonderful ways. This whole work was masterfully done. It is a whole.
She's created a lovely Steampunk universe in which women are mighty yet dignified. Good characters, entertaining plot, lots left to discover. Will read on.
This was the most fun I've had listening to an audiobook in a long time!
It was entertaining historical fiction with a steampunk/supernatural bent, with a theme of girls behaving like boys and having adventures while at a school of both manners and intelligence training.
Quite a lot of wonderfully creative names, including my new favorite mechanical sausage dog (disguised as a ladies formal dress reticule, bound to be the latest fashion) : the adorable Bumbersnoot. The school is chock full of interesting characters, I loved the friendships that developed with Vièv and Soap especially. They were great company for fun and for break-ins to restricted areas. I think they handled themselves wonderfully, for 13-year-olds, in a race to save the day and to recover a piece of highly sought after technology. It was a well done plot, unfolding piece by piece in the puzzle until the "final showdown" for all the marbles.
I was happy for Sophronia to have found comrades in mischief and a productive outlet for her talents, no matter what her mother thinks of them. =P
Narration was great - several varied voices for dialogue, all appropriately gendered with proper dialects. Only a few minor instances of voice mix-ups, but the speaker was known from context, so did not present a problem.
From a proper curtsy and quadrille to the finer points of poison and secret message passing, I think I shall like to read more in the series, I can't imagine what new escapades may be in store aboard the giant airship campus. Brilliant writing, a lot of fun, even if I'm not part the target audience -teenage girls. I laughed out loud often (awkward on public transportation) and didn't want to put it down.
I have all Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate books and loved them. I was so happy to find new by her, I had to get them and wasn't disappointed. Very original concept a school turning young ladies into spies, too much fun! There wasn't a boring moment in this book and again it has everything, adventure, humor and a little romance. These books can be for all age groups Fun Fun Fun. The narrator was so good, I'll be looking for more books done by Moira Quirk.
I love to read, but never have time anymore to read them! I'm excited find a new way to enjoy literature.
After a sadness at having finish the parasol protectorate, being able to reconnect with the younger versions of some of my favorite characters has absolutely enchanted me! I love Saphronia's personality and problem solving prowess. A Wonderful and quick read.
Avid reader, goodreads-er, & instagrammer who always has an audiobook in the background (or foreground) of her life.
This listen is pure fun, what with the steampunk/finishing school/spy training aspects brought to life by a writing style that's a bit silly and an excellent narrator. Where it disappointed was that it wasn't easy to follow; There were certainly several memorable characters and situations but not a strong story arc. I may or may not continue with the series.
I love to describe this series, as if Jasper Fforde & Meg Cabot wrote a steam-punk Harry Potter series that is different than everything else. It's lovely and fun and hard to put down.
I think this book was great if you are from the ages of 10-12. I think it is a good story line for younger children, but doesn't have the depth that is necessary for a more mature reader.
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