A book review: Etiquette & Espionage

As a writer, I can be very picky about my books and stories. But I read a little bit of everything. Nothing will win my heart more than a fully realized world with intelligent, relatable chatracters in a good story. I strive for the same in my own work but I am ever learning to make it better.

This specific author has a soft spot in my heart. Gail Carriger, is a fairly new author that I was hooked on as soon as I read the first teaser chapter of her first full length book: Soulless. She presented a mix of worlds that most authors either failed at or messily cobbled together and depended on plot to carry boring characters along.

You will find none of that nonsense here.

She has successfully married Victorian gaslamp, Steampunk, slice of life, mystery, and Urban Fantasy to create her works. None of them over run the other and each element is subtle but distinct. I feel like I’m speaking about wine…

And they are wonderful works, indeed.

This book is from her new young adult series and unlike many of the other supernatural related books found in that age group this one is well thought out,fast placed, smart, funny, practical and lively. The characters are varied without being stereotypes or charactures of a concept.
In this series we follow fourteen year old Sophronia, who is a bit of a tomboy, from her proper house hold (who lament her ever being a lady of any sort) where she is largely ignored (until she inconveniences her parents), to being sent away to “Mademoiselle Geraldine Finishing Academy for Young ladies of Quality.” Though the school does indeed teach ladies manners and how to run a household they also instruct them in the ways of death, espionage, fighting and diversion.

All while remember your manners of course.

Sophronia is intelligent, cheeky without being annoying, and practical. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in Ms. Carrier’s books. I have never found myself cringing at something the main character does. That is not to say that they don’t make mistakes they’re just usually not hokey, stereotypical (she’s a over emotional woman let me make her snap at a guy on a whim because everything she’s going through that she caused herself just got to her etc..), lazy writing styles of mistakes. Which greatly appeals to someone like me.

Especially when it’s geared towards young female readers. I like heroines that act with enough sense not to fall for emotionally abusive males and have a goal out side of boys and a romantic summer/ dance.

She has a depth of character that is rarely seen and is kind without being seen as weak. The story follows a logical progression without the results seeming too far off to be believable. I could not put the book down and when I discovered it was but the first in a series I was ecstatic!

I highly suggest these books to women of all ages who love mystery, school life and a bit of supernatural tossed in for good measure and want a read that is intelligent but not overbearing.

I cannot recommend Etiquette & Espionage finishing school, book the first, enough.

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