Thursday 28 November 2013

Book Review - Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School #1
Genres: Paranormal, Steampunk, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 5th Febuary 2013
Publishers: Little Brown Books
No. Pages: 307
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea - and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Have you been considering this book because of the beautiful cover? Have you been considering this book because it's a steampunk themed book? Have been considering this book because it has a blurb from Marie Lu complimenting on it being the steampunk equivalent of Harry Potter? Well dears, sit down and do listen, as you're going to be in for a shock. This book is nothing like Harry Potter. This book isn't about lavish young ladies in evening dress learning to curtsy. This book is so much more than just a steampunk novel. This book, is absolutely fantastic. *faints from amazingness*

Okay, on a more serious note, this book is wonderful in so many ways. Let us start with the cover. Yes, it's a little image on top of another image style, yet, it works so well. The contrast in black and purple with the unidentifiable face leaves a sense of mystery and secrecy, while the lady and her fashion sense gives a sense of glamour and respect. Wonderful I tell you. Might we move onto the plot now? I think so. The plot, was a little bit of a let down, might you, only a teeny tiny bit. After about three quarters of the way through, I had guessed the ending would be rounded off and too happy for my liking, with no cliff hanger, and I was in the end, proven right. Sometimes, sometimes, I just wish authors would give me a mean cliff hanger at the end of the first book instead of playing nice and then killing me at the end of the second, but hey-ho, that's how it is. Gail Carriger created and molded a lovely, eccentric and action packed plot with both areas of sophistication and dangerous intention woven within and I was just amazed by the whole scenario. I especially loved the steampunk aspect to the plot; the clockwork and machinery aspects were fantastic and so new to me. I could have easily hated them, but they reminded me a little of the machinery and clockwork aspects in The Infernal Devices series. I was, of course doomed to fall in love with it all over again. Other aspects I appreciated in the plot were that of the paranormal kind. I seriously didn't expect any vampires or werewolves in this book or series whatsoever, so you can imagine my surprise to find that not only where these aspects here, but they didn't change or alter the feeling of the book whatsoever, I was bamboozled.

When it came to the characters I was also very impressed. They each had a touch of the strange and abnormal, yet were so relatable that I just loved them all, even the staff characters. I feel as though Gail Carriger can come up with some fantastic characters, and I would even go as far as to say that some of those in this book are easily some of my all time favourites. Our leading lady was one of the strongest, wittiest, and independent characters I've seen in a long time, and she certainly added a great touch to the story as a whole. She was determined to discover uncovered truths, and even went on a little mysterious secret voyage of her own. This then leads me to the possible romance. I was so glad Carriger decided not to created an insta-love scenario and stuck to keeping a mutual, ever growing and genuinely adorable relationship between our leading lady and her crush interest. I am looking forward to seeing how much their relationship grows and just how it will affect other characters in the book.

I did have another aspect that pleased me to no end and it is relative to the romance and that is the inclusion of a black love interest. It appears to me that including anyone who isn't white in young adult books is becoming that of a variety, and it sometimes annoys me a little more than it really should and I'm glad I didn't have to be with this book. I was impressed with not only that, but also the attention paid to the class system, and the different degrees of respect that those in different classes were entitled too. It was these aspects that reiterated the fact that this book is predominantly set in a later date than present date, but also has some fantastic futuristic details that bring this book to balance in the present day.

I loved this book, and I'm seriously considering buying this book the new year along with my other huge amount of books I want to buy, and I can't wait to see if this series improves, or with some other middle books, whether it falls and stumbles into some foggy mists of the moors.

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