Friday, 1 March 2013

Etiquette & Espionage

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.  Mrs Temminick 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 finish...everything.  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.

If you've read any of Gail Carriger's previous books, then you know exactly what to expect from her first foray into Young Adult fiction.  E&E is set 25 years before the events of Soulless, and is probably best described as a boarding school set, steam punk, paranormal adventure.  Filled with tenacious characters that have fantastic, I-have-to-say-these-aloud, names, Espionage and Etiquette is a gloriously silly introduction to Sophronia and chums, proving that Carriger's (albeit a tad watered down) imaginatively crackpot plots translate well into the YA market. 

I didn't think I could love E&E more until I realised that there was no romance...yet.  There are some hints as to romantic liaisons that Sophronia could encounter in the future and I think this is a great choice on Carriger's' part.  This lets any could-be relationship grow in a more organic way rather than they typical YA instant love and devotion for eternity.  Then again, I do like that graduates of Mademoiselle Geraldine's wouldn't marry for love anyway, but rather as another means of Espionage! 

The only problem I had was that Sophronia and Dimity seemed to be Alexia and Ivy mark 2, just replace hats with sparkly things, but then again I couldn't imagine a better pairing to replicate. There's a warmth that radiates from their friendship and I liked the message throughout the book of not under estimating anyone, especially your friends. 

Not that I'm wishing the year away, but could it be November please so I can get my next Carriger fix with the next Finishing School book, Curtsies and Conspiracies?

No comments:

Post a Comment