Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Release Date: February 5, 2013 
Publisher: Little, Brown 
Source: Publisher for Review
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.

Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners -- and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But 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
Gail Carriger is an author I have been hearing about even before my blogging days. Her books are best sellers and she has quiet a large fan following. I for one was eager to see what all the hype was about so I quickly agreed to read her book when I was given the chance. Gail Carriger's writing style is one of the most unique styles I've ever come across and coupled with the fantastic sounding plot and spunky protagonist, Etiquette & Espionage offered quiet an interesting reading experience. 

To be quiet fair, I read this book about a week ago and I feel like I've finally figured out how I feel about this book. For one, the writing style and I did not click for about the entire book so liking anything else was extremely hard. While I understand that this is a steampunk novel, the writing was nothing like anything I'd read before. Gail Carriger's diction is almost old school and something out of a classic novel. While I like classic novels a lot, this one did not work. The words would jumble together often and other times, I'd have to read whole passages to understand what had happened. 

The characters too weren't my favorite and I feel that this book is more suited for middle grade readers and not young adult. Sophorina (what a mouthful this name is!) is 14 and rather troublesome to her parents which is why she gets sent away. I for one didn't feel like she acted well older than her age as some people have said. I felt like that was the trick with the writing style; it made Sophorina seemingly older but nothing that happened in this book remotely made me think of her as older. As for the other characters, besides having utterly ridiculous names, I didn't connect with (or care for) any of them. The character development in this book was also nonexistent and that didn't help matters either.  

The plot was also rather interesting and not in the best way. While not the best in the world, I was engaged in the prototype and everything that was happening. Yet another issue I had was the fact that there was factor in this book. All of the school's classes were boring and there wasn't much spying going on. There seemed to be a complete lack of action, even in the ending and that was highly disappointing. 

Though the best part for me about this book was the simple lack of romance. Sophorina might only be 14 years old but I bet there could have been ways for the author to put in some romance. Instead, this book is entirely about Sophorina and the other girls figuring out the mysteries and workings of the school. The lack of romance and love was fantastic and left the room for the girls to be kick ass heroines! 

Overall, I wasn't as impressed with Etiquette & Espionage as I had expected but I will be checking out the next books. Gail Carriger's writing style is not one for everyone (like me) but it can be adjusted to. The lack of character development, the over-the-top character names and the lack of action in the book were what led to my disappointment. I know plenty of people have loved this book so I would recommend it for people who are fan's of Carriger's previous work and others who'd like to read her books! 
Cover Comments: 
First thoughts: Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVE THIS COVER. 
Comments: So this cover is kind of gorgeous. I LOVE it. It looks so sophisticated and beautiful and the typography is wonderful (I love how the & connects both words). 
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