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Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,555 Ratings  ·  4,427 Reviews
It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 2013)
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Amelia Steampunk is a quasi-Victorian setting and society with things like steam-powered robots -- more technologically advanced than the actual late 1800s,…moreSteampunk is a quasi-Victorian setting and society with things like steam-powered robots -- more technologically advanced than the actual late 1800s, but in a very pre-WWI kind of way. (less)
Emily No, not really. It lays the groundwork for some possible future romance between two of the characters in the sequels, but that's all. In that respect,…moreNo, not really. It lays the groundwork for some possible future romance between two of the characters in the sequels, but that's all. In that respect, this book is more middle grade than young adult. The books in the series become more mature as the characters age, however.(less)
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Can't Wait Books of 2013
33rd out of 2,462 books — 12,431 voters
Allegiant by Veronica RothClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareThe Indigo Spell by Richelle MeadRequiem by Lauren OliverProdigy by Marie Lu
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45th out of 1,520 books — 10,833 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling

Tea should be required for the reading of all Gail Carriger books, don't you think?
Lola  Reviewer

Really, I did not expect this to feel so young. It has such a middle grade vibe. And contains some immature characters.
The flywayman with the gun struck the headmistress across the face with his free hand.

‘‘Oh dear,’’ said Sophronia. ‘‘Violence.’’ She suppressed panic and a strange urge to giggle. She’d never before seen a grown man actually hit a woman.


Whaaat? And that would make you, Sophronia, giggle? *shakes head*

I didn’t like her as a character until maybe 75% of the story, when she seem
Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
This was tons of fun! Excited to continue the series soon. I'll do a video review soon!
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
2.5 stars, rounded up because I'm feeling particularly generous today.

Before any of you start plotting my painful and untimely death, I should point out that I’m a big fan of Ms. Carriger’s previous work. The Parasol Protectorate series is a favorite of mine, despite losing some steam in the later installments. However, I don’t think Etiquette and Espionage was up to her usual standards, and it makes me very sad that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped I would. It took me a while to put my t
Well. Well well well. I think I'll have to go back and give the adult series set in this alternate steampunk Victorian world a try.

Despite my stumbling over the affected narrative style at the outset, I ended up being entirely swayed by its charm and cleverness, and I enjoyed the book so much that I was disappointed when it was over. I wanted it to continue, perhaps indefinitely. It reminds me very much of Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series in its lighthearted silliness and droll humor, tho
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Mar 28, 2014 Stacia (the 2010 club) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of humorous Victorian-era fiction who wouldn't mind a light paranormal/steampunk bent
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Rated YA-MA group read for March
Super cute. Super sassy. Super witty.

Strike that. It looks like I'm trying to sell glitzy fashion to tweens.

3.25 stars. But it is super cute and fun and all that stuff. Werewolves are wearing top hats! Just the names alone are awesome, and I really hate off-the-wall names 99% of time, but how can you not love the idea of mechanical butler named Frowbritcher? I'm pretty sure that Carriger is one of the only people who can pull off all of the strange names with finesse.

And I don't even know what
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

2.5 stars
'"Practice your eyelash-fluttering, ladies. Six rounds of one hundred each before bed."-'

I took the big mistake when I read Marie Lu being quoted on my copy of Etiquette & Espionage. "I wish I could attend a school as fun as this finishing academy. It is the perfect steam punk version of Harry Potter." After observing this, I assumed that the book was just as good as Harry Potter. RIIIGHT?! It literally has my name written all over it.

Jul 29, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Fun! Feminism! Girliness! I would definitely recommend the audiobook as the narration is wonderful.
Now I need a book about possessed unicorns, poisonous bunnies and violet bananas, because I have to read something that can get me out of this state of utter boredom.

The main fault of this book is the inexplicable absence of a plot: I kept on wishing something would happen, but nothing really did (at least not until 38% of the book, when I finally had enough). It was just a never-ending list of mechanical parts, dirigibles, bonnets and petticoats.

I had great expectations of epic escapes on dirig
Jubilation Lee
You guys, I’ll admit it, I freaking loved Soulless when it came out. Then I reread it and was like, “Hmm. Not as amazing as I recalled.” Then I rereread it for a book club, and ended up loathing several fairly major aspects of the story. And now, reflecting back… I can hardly remember the damn thing. What was the main character’s name, again?

SO! What I’m trying to say is that I went into Etiquette & Espionage a little nervous due to the way that I might have hated the author’s previous work
Mike (the Paladin)
Hummm..... well I sort of hesitated on the rating for this one. I mean I don't think I'll be reading the rest of the series, at least not right away, but I did enjoy the book....mostly.

What we have here is a young woman in an alternate England of lords and ladies with very proper etiquette, not to mention stiff collars and lots of frills. Sadly 14 year old Sophronia does not fit in. She put me in mind of the song from The Sound of Music:

She is a great tria
"[Is] that wise? Having a mess of seedling evil geniuses falling in love with you willy-nilly? What if they feel spurned?"
"Ah, but in the interim, think of the lovely gifts they can make you. Monique bragged that one of her boys made her silver and wood hair sticks as anti-supernatural weapons. With amethyst inlay. And another made her an exploding wicker chicken."
"Goodness, what's that for?"
Dimity pursed her lips. "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?"

I have to say, I was equal pa
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
I have wanted to read this series but a while now and when I received the third book for review, I figured now was as good as a time as ever to start it. Instead of reading it I decided to give audiobooks one more try, after all, why not? I could get so much more read if only I could listen to books throughout the day while also doing other things so I decided this was the place to start and hoped like heck I wouldn't regret it.

Can I just tell you that I am so glad I listened to this on audio? I
Maria Snyder
Jun 02, 2013 Maria Snyder rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! It's a younger version of Gail's Parasol Protectorate series - a fun and entertaining Once again I bought the audio book. Gail's books are great when read with a British accent.
Taylor Knight

What I thought I was going to read: A book about a girl that learns how to kill people in a Nikita-like way in a steampunk setting.
What the book is really about: A somewhat boring girl from 1800s in a steampunk world of vampires and werewolves whos family wants to to be more girly so they send her off to a school and they have no idea she will be learning how to kill people in an almost boring way.

This book would have been so much better if Carriger didn't add in supernaturals. So many YA book
Whitley Birks
Jan 30, 2014 Whitley Birks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: at-the-library, 2014
See more reviews at my blog.

This book is pure, whimsical fun. I admit, I was not in the right frame of mind to enjoy this the first time I picked it up. It’s got a very lighthearted approach to worldbuilding, and I it wasn’t until my second attempt that I actually appreciated that. But once I was in the mood for a carefree adventure, this was just the perfect fix for it.

Etiquette & Espionage had a very early-Harry-Potter feel to it, and I know it’s irritating to hear everything called the ne
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: School, friendship, class, spying, betrayal.

No dumbing down for a Young Adult audience in this wonderful start to the Finishing School series. Instead, the author keeps things mature - as she should.

The voices of the characters are perfect for their age - and there are some familiar faces for those who have read the Parasol Protectorate novels. Different fashions to imagine, different technologies to wrap your head around - and new questions blossoming in your head!

As a separate series
Alt 1854, young girl is shipped off to "finishing school," where she learns important lessons in deportment, manners, and the intricacies of assassination, among other relevant topics. All in pursuit of goals never explained for political purposes never elucidated because guys, that is so not the point.

I feel like this book is almost deep. Like this twisted portrait of nineteenth-century education – the juxtaposition of fashion with poison, the way lessons in eyelash fluttering serve both social
„Naprosto okouzlující, zábavné a rozpustilé… Perfektní steampunková verze Harryho Pottera,“ tvrdí na obálce Etikety Marie Lu.
A já nemůžu než souhlasit, protože tohle je prostě boží čtení. Rozpustilé je to pravé slovo, Etiketa a špionáž je mile nevinná, neobsahuje žádnou ultramilostnou zápletku, což je svým způsobem osvěžující. Sofronie je skvělá hrdinka, trošku praštěná, trošku pitomá, ale steampunková až do morku kostí. Pokud jste žádnou knížku z tohoto žánru nečetli, myslím, že tohle je ta pr
Apr 18, 2015 Hayat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“He...boasted an unassuming mustache, which was perched atop his upper lip cautiously, as though it were slightly embarrassed to be there and would like to slide away and become a sideburn or something more fashionable.”

After reading that amusing quote, I just had to read this book and I didn't regret it one bit.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick is intelligent, curious, spirited and something of a tomboy. After getting into one too many trouble, Mrs. Temminnick decides its time to send Sop
Mar 16, 2013 Ferdy rated it liked it
2.5 stars - Spoilers

I loved the Parasol Protectorate series. Naturally, when I found out Gail Carriger was writing a YA prequel spin off, I was excited. All that humour, steampunk craziness and madness in a YA book was bound to be great. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
I still liked Etiquette & Espionage but it didn't live up to my expectations. I think one of the main reasons I wasn't impressed with it was because it felt more like a Children's book rather than a YA book. If I had known that goin
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Only fourteen years old, Sophronia Temminnick is well established as the troublesome child in her family. She likes to take the mechanicals apart to see how they work, and her adventurous spirit and complete lack of interest in the latest fashions or appearances in general are a trial for her mother in particular. Desperate to get her daughter on the right track and "cure" her of her failings, her mother enrols Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

Summer ✿
May 17, 2013 Summer ✿ rated it it was ok
DNF'd at page 100.

That's it. I can't read this. I am not going to force mysef through a book that is painfully boring to read. I simply could not get engaged nor feel involved in the story. It took me more than a week to get up to page 100, the same amount of time I could have used to read 2-3 books. I'm sorry, but this book wasn't for me.

I highly doubt that the book is going to get any better if I continue reading, therefore I feel the need to DNF this.
Lindsey Rey
Mar 08, 2015 Lindsey Rey rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2015
Etiquette & Espionage was a great first book in this spin-off series! I just wish there had been more time spent in classrooms/more training sequences. The writing also felt a bit choppy compared to her other books.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*

This is going to be one of those guilty-pleasure types of series and I am going to REVEL in it.

3.5 stars, shown as 3 stars here because I really felt like nothing major happened until the end BUT I still enjoyed myself throughout. The characters were likeable (I enjoyed Sophronia very much, even if she is a Mary-Sue) and there was so much humor throughout that I was constantly engaged with this reading. I loved Bumbersnoot and Soap and Dimity and Pillover. Haven't quite figured out what a Pickle
Ashley Owens
Jun 04, 2015 Ashley Owens rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-loans
Meh. Overall this was a very silly book, and did not give me enough explanation of what the hell was going on to keep me interested. I finished it though, because it was so young and immature that it was very easy to read quickly. not to say that it was bad, but I think I'm not the targeted audience for these books.

I think I'll try her Parasol Procterate books instead... I have a feeling those will be better.
Krystal Bond
1.5 I really wanted to like this book. I ended up DNF on page 188, I was planning on just powering through and finishing it, but I felt myself wanting to not read at all, rather than read that book, so I figured trying to finish it wasn't worth going into a slump. The idea behind the book was quite good, a girl going to a school to become an assassin. Not once in that amount of pages I read did she learn any skills or do anything of interest. She basically just walked around meeting people and t ...more
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Where young girls are trained to be even more devious

Etiquette & Espionage was quite a bit of fun in a very similar way that the Parasol Protectorate books were. They share the same universe, a few characters but mostly the style of storytelling is peppered with the same type of mad dashes of action between the slower paced yet often comical scenes of the book. Young Sophronia, our heroine is a 14 year old trouble maker who for her time I would guess could be considered quite a to boy. She l
Feb 18, 2013 Kara-karina rated it it was amazing
What a riot this book was! So fun and lively. It's short, bright and a very fast read. After tired ending of Timeless this feels invigorating, light and humorous, and I hope Gail will continue writing in the same manner.

Etiquette and Espionage is a YA book on younger side of the genre as the main character, Saphronia, is only fourteen. That's the other thing in this book - the names are hilarious: Sophronia Temminnick, Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Bandersnoot...

There are
Apr 10, 2013 Sesana rated it really liked it
I think that maybe somebody who'd read the entire Parasol Protectorate series to this point may end up enjoying Etiquette & Espionage a bit more than I did. I've only read Soulless so far, which was enough for me to notice that the Finishing School series will be set in the same universe. Fine by me, I really like Carriger's versions of vampire and werewolf societies.

And I did really enjoy this book. It's YA, which is a bit of a change for Carriger. I think she made the jump really nicely by
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Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series for adults, and the Finishing School series for young adults. She is published in 18 different languages and has 13 NYT bestsellers via 7 different lists (including #1 in Manga). She was once an archaeologist and is overly fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.
More about Gail Carriger...

Other Books in the Series

Finishing School (4 books)
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)
  • Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)

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“It's no good choosing your first husband from a school for evil geniuses. Much too difficult to kill.” 119 likes
“He...boasted an unassuming mustache, which was perched atop his upper lip cautiously, as though it were slightly embarrassed to be there and would like to slide away and become a sideburn or something more fashionable.” 57 likes
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