Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
March 5, 2013
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When the opportunity comes to enroll her daughter in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, Sophronia's mother seizes it. Only the school isn't like any Finishing School Sophonia's ever heard of -- and she's sure it isn't what her mother thought she was going to.
Along with the quadrille and to always, always have a handkerchief, they also learn about diversion and finishing much more than just school.
Etiquette and Espionage is wildly imaginative and draws readers in from the very beginning. Sophronia is a fun character, one you know right away is not the typical Victorian teenage girl. She's a great lead character as she's daring, inquisitive and not one for the conventions of the period.
The secondary characters, some whom I won't name as it might be spoilery, and the girls at school have nicely varied personalities. The way they interact with each other and deal with the school is interesting to see.
Despite my feeling that the characters seemed a bit older than their stated ages (Sophronia was fourteen and some were younger than her), Etiquette and Espionage should appeal to Middle Grade readers. There's nothing I can recall in the content that would make it inappropriate for those younger readers. I think it would also be very appealing to adult readers, at least those who will read YA.
There may be a few readers in the group between those two ages who want some more drama or something more salacious than what they'll find here. The characters do feel more high school aged, but the content stays pretty PG/PG-13. Not to its hindrance.
NB: This is a review that should have been posted sooner. Why it wasn't, though, is worth mentioning and something that I hope anyone who's not necessarily a fan of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series will keep in mind.
Etiquette and Espionage, is the first book in the Finish School series, a sort of YA spin-off series. I'd wanted to read at least Soulless before reading Etiquette and Espionage before starting this series, to get a feel for the world that'd been created and in case there was any overlap. I just couldn't quite get into it, though.
Whatever it was that kept me stuck in the first bit on Soulless (that delayed me getting into Etiquette) was not a problem with the new series. At all. So, if you found the adult series not to your liking, still pick this one up -- and of course do if you're a fan of the other series, too. (I know I'm going to give it another, better, shot now.)