Etiquette and Espionage
By Gail Carriger
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is 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 for her daughter to 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 the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
Sophronia is a young girl, younger than I would have liked although I thought the drastic change in the level of her maturity from the beginning of the novel to the end was rather shocking. I admired her reactions to challenging situations with which she deals with the problem at hand. When imaging girls in the 60s I picture girls to act the way girls act in today’s century, Sophronia was exactly is what I least expected, a young girl running around the house creating havoc and chaos. There were different aspects incorporated into the novel such as fantasy, violence (assassins), werewolves etc. along with a mystery throughout the entire novel and of course espionage.
I found that the main charters in the novel were well developed alas the minor charters in the novel seemed to have been forgotten and lacked a good background story on them. I also enjoyed how the novel took place in a different time period but is was much similar to a novel in today’s time period as in they each that similar story lines and places visited. I also admired the imagination incorporated into the novel, which constantly keep me aware of the small details being described.