Sunday, February 9, 2014

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage 
by Gail Carriger

Published:  Little Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group
Format: Paperback
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 307 
Genre: Fiction
Source: own book

"Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick is a great trial to her poor mother - her atrocious curtsy is an embarrassment to the family name. So Mrs. Temminnick enrolls her daughter in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies certainly learn the fine arts of dance, dress and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage - in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education. "

So first - what on Earth happened to that poor young woman on the cover ? She clearly isn't wearing her stays (scandalous !), her decolletage appears to have been forcibly collapsed and I fear that something untoward has happened to her spine.  I like the background of the cover and even the idea of the cover, but the execution leaves something to be desired.

The story inside, however, is a delight.  Do believe that I liked it better then I liked Soulless.  Sophronia is a lovely protagonist. She is intelligent and willing to take action but she is neither perfect nor does she dwell on her perceived deficiencies. Plus, she has friends - female friends!  It is really nice to read a YA story where the lead is not the only girl in the story - or not the only good/worthwhile one. Relationships develop and end evolve thorough time, like they would at a real school. The cast of characters is a nice mix. And there is no heavy-handed boy angst either. Hurray!

The language is nicely textured, though the names of individuals started to get a bit wearing. I laughed out loud several times as I envisioned the action.  The end of the book tied some things up neatly while other plot threads were left merrily flapping in the wind, a nice balance that left me satisfied but very much looking forward to the next book.  Four and a half claws because it cheered me up while I have a yuck cold. 

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