Fun Feminism Girliness I would definitely recommend the audiobook as the narration is wonderful. 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 SchoolFourteen Year Old Sophronia Is A Great Trial To Her Poor Mother Sophronia Is Interested In Dismantling Clocks And Climbing Trees Than Proper Manners And The Family Can Only Hope That Company Never Sees Her Atrocious Curtsy Mrs Temminnick Is Desperate For Her Daughter To Become A Proper Lady So She Enrolls Sophronia 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 Learn To Finisheverything Certainly, They 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 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 this means, but I want to start saying itSo I can be a puffed up poodle faker like youParasol Protectorate fans are probably going to flinch when I mention that I think I liked EE a slight bit better than Soulless for book 1 of a series I get that Soulless hadsnark and overt humor than EE did, but I took to Sophronia s fresh and spunky attitudethan I did Alexia s musings about her large nose I laughed out loud when Sophronia considered a purple flannel night garment to be salacious to quote her imagine that Gail Carriger s writing style is sort of a weird thing to explain She has all of the parts present which make for an excellent book unique characters, harrowing situations, charming imagery, witty banter, etc but there s something about the sum of the parts which doesn t quite register in my brain as a complete success Every time I would pick up the book, I d read a few chapters and be entertained, but I could never go much further in one sitting I felt like I was on this constant loop of intricacy, and I couldn t make my brain stop moving enough to take it all in large doses Imagine going to the same tea party every day The tea is good The company is good The conversation is interesting But you feel like you need to get off the tea party for a minute and have pizza and beer That s what I feel like when I read Carriger In small doses, the words are charming and fun and stimulating In large doses, I want to wander off and read something else And that s why it took me a couple of weeks to read the book, even though I liked it But sometimes, it s okay to slowly savor the things that are good I m looking forward to savoring book 2 of this series. Seereviews at YA Midnight Reads 2.5 starsPractice 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 EspionageI wish I could attend a school as fun as this finishing academy It is the perfect steam punk version of Harry PotterAfter observing this, I assumed that the book was just as good as Harry Potter RIIIGHT It literally has my name written all over it LITERALLY. 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 itif 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 assuming so But it sounds legit I also loved when one of the students bemoans the fact that she doesn t believe she ll ever be able to kill anyone and the teacher comforts her with the fact that she may never have to What a relief.But funny moments do not a story make The plot centers around Sophronia s introduction to a world filled with spies that she didn t know existed, the concealment of a highly desirable piece of equipment that has something to do with wireless technology, and, of course, fashion.It is funny, frivolous and frothy I found that I wantedsubstance Recommended for a light summer read around the pool and, perhaps, you may want to read The Parasol Protectorate series first, starting with Soulless. 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 but acts much older and for most of the book I forgot that the characters were children Special praise goes to Bumbersnoot, the mechanimal Everyone should have one Especially with a name like that.Altogether an entertaining book which did not take long to read but which passed the time in a very enjoyable way. 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 dirigibles, teenager girls engaged in undercover operations, funny scenes when said girls find themselves in impossible situations None of that in this book.Well, to be honest, I got the dirigible.What I got were your ordinary brat girl, some scenes meant to be funny but I never had even a close lipped smile and your standard school themed menu items, flavored with some cogs and gears.Sorry to see another beautiful cover go to waste. 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 thoughts in order and figure out exactly what went wrong, at least for me, and even now I can only explain a part of it In Parasol Protectorate, Carriger s trademark sense of humor was what made the series stand out, but there was also some substance underneath, and the plots kept me engaged and interested Etiquette and Espionage had neither, I m afraidBut I have advanced eyelash fluttering to practice, and a mathematics problem concerning how to order strychnine and a lamb dinner on a limited budget, and three chapters on court etiquette to read, and my handkerchief to starch, and the quadrille to memorize No one said learning etiquette and espionage would be easy, my dearAnd it wasn t easy, my dears Not for our main character, Miss Sophronia Angelina Temminnick, and certainly not for me What started out as entertaining, promising read, ended up almost suffocating me with repetitiveness and lack of an actual plot A good sense of humor is not a band aid you can just slap over a pile of problems and hope your readers forget they re there It has been tried before, and as far as I m concerned, it never, ever worked As a fan, I loved revisiting Alexia s universe, but at the same time, seeing it reused left me with the impression that Gail Carriger took the lazy way out This is the part I m most conflicted about, but it s also one I would have been glad to overlook had the rest been interesting enough But in the end, the most interesting parts were those links to the Parasol Protectorate series It wasn t just the world that was the same, some of the characters showed up too, albeit as much younger versions of themselves Of all the crossover characters, I enjoyed meeting a nine year old Genevieve Lefoux the most and was delighted to learn that she preferred boys clothes even as a little girl There is no romance in Etiquette Espionage, just hints of one that could develop uite beautifully in the future While I adored the no romance part itself, in combination with a very weak plot, it gave a pretty empty book.It s obvious by now that I m the odd one out in this case, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt and make sure to read at least a fewreviews before making a decision It s all a matter of personal taste, after all I m prepared to give this series another chance because I adore Carriger s sense of humor Hopefully the next book will have aexciting plot. 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, though without the subtle gravitas that I associate with his YA work especially his later Aching books The plot Sophronia involves herself in involving the hidden location of a mysterious prototype is a bit wispy, but the finishing school stuff is really the big draw here, and it s grand The things these girls can do with sewing scissors, hair ribbons, perfume, and handkerchiefs Too bad I ll have to wait a loooong time for the second in this series, given this one s pub date of Feb 2013 Longer review to come, probably closer to the pub date.