Etiquette and Espionage
by Gail Carriger
–review by SuddenButInevitable
Age: Young Adult (could be handed to older Middle Grade kids)
Series: 1 of 4
Contains: Well, it’s a school for spies… and sometimes one has to learn about killing others. but no actual killing is done.
“Algebra was far more interesting when it was a matter of proportioning out mutton chops so as to poison only half of one’s dinner guests and then determining the relative value of purchasing a more expensive, yet more effective, antidote over a home remedy.”
Book-a-likes (bwahahaha…. I just made that up. Like look-a-likes, but with books! I crack myself up): Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chinani, and maybe even a little of the irreverence of My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison.
Lovelies! First of, who wouldn’t love algebra if it was taught this way? Like seriously? I would have been much more entertained by this than by “If John buys 256 watermelons how many can he feed?” Poisoning people is a much better way of learning, don’t you think?
OK, so, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and light and kind of adorable. I think the best thing about the book, is that it’s almost expected of the students to defy their teachers. I mean, it’s a school for spies, so as long as they aren’t caught, they really aren’t punished. We follow Sophronia (I’ll never be able to listen to the audiobook, I have mispronounced her name in my head the WHOLE book) who is basically a scholarship student to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality (You could liken this to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters). Sophronia is a natural – precocious and nosy with a penchant for climbing. She gets into all sorts of trouble.
Did I mention it was basically Steampunk Victorian London? Honestly, there’s so little not to like about this book. Interested in Vampires and Werewolves? Well, of course this book has those too. Actually, come to think of it…. It’s a Ladies finishing school, so apart from the teachers (and a small side character at this point) all of the characters are females which makes me SO VERY HAPPY. There’s the usual cattiness when it comes to some of the girls. And don’t let the cover fool you, because our MC? 14. Which may make this middle grade. I dunno. It’s a fabulous book, so I don’t really care. Actually, I just passed it off to my mother for her to read. Its a quick book, finished in about a day or two.
The plot is kind of slow to begin with as we know about as much as Sophronia does, but then once we’re at the school (it’s a dirigible! because of course it is…) everything just kind of moves along. Sophronia is the brains behind everything. She gathers other outliers to herself. I just really like that she includes others. I like that this book included words that I don’t know if the average mid-grade reader knows.
So, all in all, I think you should give this book a try. But you don’t have to take my word for it. (Reading Rainbow, you are still my favorite)
Also, check out the amazing trailer for this book! If this doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will!!
And don’t forget to check out my last 2 reviews!!!