Take a boarding school story. Add a dollop of steampunk, a sprinkling of mystery, and a healthy helping of humor, and you have Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminneck is not particularly interested in learning how to be a proper young lady. She would rather investigate and explore. She is, therefore, distinctly unhappy to learn that she is being sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. An attempted robbery on the way, a mysterious prototype that everyone wants but no one will discuss, and some decidedly odd lessons make her decide that, perhaps, this is the place for her, and she sets out to discover what the prototype is, who has it, and what to do about it, all the while learning social discourse, proper deportment, eyelash fluttering, and “the fine arts of death, diversion, and the modern weaponries,” and how to curtsy properly.
Etiquette and Espionage is set in the same world as Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, but stands quite well on its own. The world is that of Victorian England if werewolves and vampires were a part of society, if dirigibles were a common part of life, and clockwork attendants and mechanimals were a part of daily existence. Carriger has a light touch, creating a mystery compelling enough to keep my attention while also making me laugh at several points. She plays with the boarding school tropes, sending the new girl, Sophronia, in to make friends, learn the social rules, and solve the mystery while she studies.
Recommended for people who enjoy steampunk and like a book that combines mystery and humor.
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)
is out now.
Published Date Feb 5 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316190101 (ISBN-13: 978-0316190107)
Series Home Page: http://finishingschoolbooks.com/