Book: Ettiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Genre: Steam punk YA fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 2013
Source: purchased as e-books
Summary: Sophronia Temminnick hates the idea of going to a finishing school, but her mother is at the end of her rope about what to do with her tomboy daughter. Fortunately for Sophronia, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not the finishing school her mother expected. With steampunk technology, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s school floats above Dartmoor teaching the young ladies a variety of skills from the correct curtsy to the perfect poison.
Thoughts: I enjoyed Etiquette & Espionage so much that I immediately downloaded the second book in the series, Curtsies & Conspiracies. Reading them back to back, the experience was more like one long book of spying adventure, crafty steampunk machine, and witty world-building.
The fantasy aspects build on all the romance of Victorian England with afternoon teas, dance lessons, and debutante presentation balls. The twist is that the girls at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s are learning how to use their feminine charms in the service of hidden aims. What was restrictive in Victorian England gets turned on its head as Sophronia and her friends learn how to turn every situation to their advantage.
Appeal: This is Young Adult literature that will appeal to readers of all ages who love steampunk, magic schools, or alternate histories with vampires and werewolves.
Challenges: Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies are my first books for Once Upon a Time VIII at Stainless Steel Droppings. I’ll also link this review to the second-week of British Isles Friday. Join us here tomorrow!
Reviews: There were lots of reviews of these two books when they were published and everyone seems to gush! Lark at The Bookwyrm’s Hoard pointed out that some of the politics of the world may confuse young readers, but she encourages them to hang in there for the adventure. Most reviewers, like FyreFly of Fyrefly’s Book Blog and Karin of Life of Karin, recommend that you read Etiquette & Espionage before Curtsies & Conspiracies — I agree.
Have you read this series? What did you think?