Etiquette and Espionage - YA Review by Sophie D

Reader: Sophie D
Age: 17
Title: Etiquette and Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 02/05/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I loved the writing in this book. It is set in an alternate Victorian England, and it is also kind of poking fun at Victorian England. The girls have to fight in giant fluffy dresses, and learn how to manipulate people with accessories. The finishing school aspects were perfect too. It could go really bad and sexist, but I feel like the author properly acknowledged many aspects of feminine power, from flirting to knife fighting.
Memorable or Forgettable: I really expected not to like this book. In the beginning, the author seemed like she was just throwing a whole bunch of fantasy gimmicks together - vampires, werewolves, steampunk - but then it got good. This book is witty, adventurous, quaint, fast paced, and cute. But above all, I found it really clever and fresh. The characters were all realistic, with flaws and good sides. The main character's best friend is an airhead, and distracted by sparkly things, but she's also an awesome friend. Another memorable character is a nine year old mechanic/inventor who refuses to be treated like a girl because "boys have more fun." I found details like this refreshing and fun, and unexpected in what at first seemed like a fluffy steampunk book.
Cover: This cover is an awful match to the book. It makes it look serious, when it's really very funny and clever. It deserves a funny and clever cover. (Also, the model looks really photoshopped, and much older than the character is supposed to be).
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q Better than most
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal
Annotation: Sophronia expects to be bored when she's shipped off to finishing school. She doesn't expect adventures aboard an airship, encounters with flying bandits, and learning skills such as secrecy and knife throwing, or to be drawn into a  conflict over a secret, powerful object.

tags: steampunk / Victorian / paranormal / Finishing School series / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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