Series: Finishing School #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: February 5th 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Girls & Women, Historical, Manners & Etiquette, Robots, Steampunk, Young Adult
Audiobook Length: 8 hours, 55 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Moira Quirk
Description: 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. 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 finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the 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. Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore.
I can wrap up my feelings about Etiquette & Espionage in one word: meh. The elements I’m interested in where there. But still, meh. I even stopped the audio during the big climatic fight scene at the end because I just didn’t care.
Etiquette & Espionage is:
- steam punk
- has a plucky heroine
- who attends school in a dirigible
- which has a vampire teacher
- and a werewolf captain
- where she learns etiquette
- and secret spy-craft
Usually, I would totally be into all of these. But not this time.
Our plucky heroine is 14, which is a little too young for my interests. There wasn’t any romance. I spent most of the book wondering which teacher, the vampire or the werewolf, would end up the love interest. To only remind myself that Sophronia is only 14. And she should definitely NOT be romantically interested in her teachers, no matter how many top hats are involved. There weren’t any sword fights. Most of the lessons involved etiquette, not espionage. Though, I did learn where to keep my extra handkerchief – in my decolletage, if you were wondering.
As for the audio narration, more meh. There were a lot of characters, and I struggled to separate one voice from another for many of the characters. I also had a problem with the download, and re-listened to 2 chapters, unbeknownst to me. I couldn’t figure out why the chapters were repeating til it happened a second time. True, that wasn’t the narrator’s fault, but still, did not help the whole situation.
My honest recommendation is don’t bother with Etiquette and Espionage. And will I read the others in the series? Maybe. But truthfully, probably not.