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Etiquette and Espionage

(Finishing School #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  40,749 ratings  ·  6,110 reviews
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 Q ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published 2013 by Hachette Little, Brown and company
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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)

Community Reviews

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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,749 ratings  ·  6,110 reviews

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Wendy Darling

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

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 s
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)
Apr 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun! Feminism! Girliness! I would definitely recommend the audiobook as the narration is wonderful.
Heidi The Reader
A cute, young adult book with a steampunk theme that takes place at a "finishing" school which isn't about etiquette at all.

I made the mistake of reading this without realizing that it was based in a world from another series of books. I'm guessing that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the other set first.

Etiquette and Espionage had plenty of fun moments in it. One of my favorites is when Sophronia inexplicably claims that werewolves enjoy the theater. From one of the other books? I'm
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.

Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
A bit silly but a lot of fun! I have already enjoyed several books in this author's Parasol Protectorate series and found this one to be nearly but not quite so good. However I see that the next three books in this Finishing School series all score over 4 for their Goodreads average rating. That cannot be bad so I guess I have good things to look forward to.

I like steampunk and I usually like Young Adult books so Etiquette & Espionage worked for me. The main character, Sophronia, is fourteen
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
Krista Regester
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I'm just so impressed with myself that I read and liked a steampunk book.
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
Maria V. Snyder
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
"[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
Jason Koivu
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fiction, humor, fantasy
Fantastic fun! Packed with Wodehousian humor!

Whip-smart author Gail Carriger kicks off a diabolically clever girl's school espionage series in style!

Whereas Austen prodded the society she was associated with, Etiquette & Espionage pokes fun at the Regency, early Victorian and Industrial Age manners and dress in a way that brands it with a slap on the ass!...a loving one though. It's clear that Carriger has an affinity for the period.

Set in a steampunk world, the book is all gussied up in t
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this book was just okay. This is really a pretty generous 3 stars but I am going to go with it. I have wanted to read Gail Carriger's work for a very long time and I remember being excited when I got my hands on a review copy of this book years ago. Somehow it got lost in my tbr pile but I decided that it was time to give it a go. It really wasn't all that I had hoped it would be but I am glad that I gave it a read and
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
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
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, youngadult
Lovely YA adventure in Carriger's SOULLESS world. It was fun to see some characters from her adult books as kids, and the series is off to a rollicking start. The underlying mystery of this book was a bit light, mostly so that she could introduce the finishing school and the cast of characters, and that was fine by me, because they were delightful. I'd really like to see her go a bit longer with the next one, this felt too short!

Also, I really, REALLY need a mechanical wiener dog named Bumbersn
Oct 08, 2014 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
Whitley Birks
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
I have one question and one question only: DOES THIS SCHOOL EXIST?!?

Because if it does, sign me up. If it doesn't then.. it needs to be built asap!

Sophronia learns the finer points of deceit, espionage, and assassination while attending Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Now, I'm not all about taking more classes now that I've graduated from college - but I could totally take these kind of classes.

I really enjoyed this book. Especially when no one was annoyin
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-novels
I picked this book up at my local Dollar Tree store. I had heard of this series before so when I saw it I just had to get it.

I have never read the Parasol Protectorate series so I was a bit unfamiliar with the world. Regardless, this book was still lot of fun. My only issue was that the ending felt rushed.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
A YA steampunk Victorian era thriller with a vampire & a werewolf - not exactly my normal read, but I chuckled most of the way through it. Good old sloppy English leads to punny situations & this is one where a daring young lady with unfashionable tom-boy tendencies gets sent off to one of the finest finishing schools that not only teaches manners, but espionage & murder. It's pretty well summed up when a teacher asks what ladies do in crisis.
"Assess any damage to one’s attire. A lad
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars

I had been wanting to read or listen to this book for ages before I finally bought it on Audible. While I do love boarding school settings, I have to admit that the cover just really really appealed to me with this one. Unfortunately, I'm currently in a huge book slump and I thought this may work to ease myself back into books in general - and I'm happy to say it was the perfect choice!

While both the plot and the characters were a little on the "thinner" side, I highly enjoyed the Fini
Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading more of Gail Carriger's writing in this book. This is the first one in a spin-off series which is set within the same world as the Parasole Protectorate series but a few years earlier. There are some crossover characters and contraptions, and we also see a few new characters too. It's a romp and a mess and a spiffing adventure all rolled into one.

This story follows Sophronia, a young lady of fourteen who is thoroughly uncontrollable. Sophronia is a nuisan
Taylor Knight
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it

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
Lois Bujold
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Carringer's other books
Well, that was fun. My Kindle continues to provide a comfortable if not elegant reading experience, and, of course, tremendous convenience for odd-hours shopping.

It was amusing to recognize younger versions of some of the characters met in the (written earlier, set later, adult-marketed) Parasol Protectorate series. I imagine that would also work in reverse fairly well. The downshift to the YA length and somewhat underwritten style did not affect the general goofiness of the setup, though it did
Jess (Primrose)
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE this narrator. She could read me the encyclopedia or an auto mechanic manual and I'd be enchanted. Her cadence, crisp yet gentle British accent, and the host of other voices/accents she creates as she reads is impressive. I was left in the position of eagerly waiting for my commute to and from work to put this on. I even resorted to listening on my lunch breaks and as frequently as I could. I highly recommend.
A Steampunk themed novel that centers around t
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Gail Carriger writes comedies of manners mixed with paranormal romance (and the sexy San Andreas Shifter series as G L Carriger). Her books include the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series. She is published in many languages and has over a dozen NYT bestsellers. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea. Join the Chirrup for sneak peaks of upcoming gigg ...more

Other books in the series

Finishing School (4 books)
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2)
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School, #3)
  • Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)
“It's no good choosing your first husband from a school for evil geniuses. Much too difficult to kill.” 148 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.” 64 likes
More quotes…