Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

etiquette and espionage

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

I must admit right up front that I haven’t read Carriger’s adult series The Parasol Protectorate.  So it is with fresh eyes that I came to the first book in her new teen series.  Here we meet Sophronia who at age 14 is rough and tumble enough for her mother to send her to a finishing school, hoping that she will learn proper manners and decorum before her older sister’s debutante ball.  Sophronia thinks she is being sent to a dull school only about curtsying and clothes, but Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality turns out to be about far more than Victorian manners and society.  Instead Sophronia is thrust into adventure right from the trip to school, finding herself the heroine when they are attacked on their travels.  As she discovers her real gifts are embraced by her new school, much of which would chagrin and alarm her mother.  This blend of boarding school and steampunk espionage will not stay on library shelves for long!

Carriger has created a great world in her book, one that I understand is the same as that in her adult novels.  Populated with vampires and werewolves as well as humans, the world that Sophronia is sent to at school reveals that there is far more to life than her mother would approve of.  The setting of a school that floats in the air also adds that distance and isolation that works so well in boarding school novels. 

Happily, Sophronia is a girl who loves adventure and though she may disdain her mother’s focus on fashion and decorum, begins to learn that as well.  She is a brave character, one that is unafraid to go against societal rules.  It makes for a book that is rambunctious and wildly fun while at the same time filled with wide skirts, hats and frippery.  It’s a charming mix.

With the popularity of steampunk, this is one book that belongs in every public library collection for teens.  With no sex and plenty of action, middle school readers will also enjoy it immensely. It’s a very fun read, so expect demand for the upcoming books as well.  Appropriate for ages 13-16.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:


Eric Carle, Author Of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, Announces New Book Called ‘Friends’ –

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume! –

I want to go to this school –> RT @librariancheryl: NYC to Name School in Honor Maurice Sendak via@HuffPostBooks

Miami Beach home of children’s book author Syd Hoff declared a historic literary landmark – Miami Beach


The e-book revolution is bypassing U.S. elementary schools – Computerworld

Impelsys Enters Library Ebook Market, Joining OverDrive and 3M | Digital Book World


top 10 productivity tips

ALA LibraryLab – Google+ – the mingling of librarians and Boing Boing readers –

BONK! Performance Series at Racine Public Library | Library as Incubator Project

Gaby Roslin: Why parents need Britain’s local libraries to be saved – Telegraph

Hackerspace intro: Metrix Create:Space in Seattle, Washington

PUBLISHING » I Have Nothing to Say About Bookish


Your Brain on Books: 10 Things That Happen to Our Minds When We Read | OEDb


Ray Bradbury’s Tips on How To Sell 8 Million Books | Bestseller Labs –


Locus Online 2012 Recommended Reading List

MIND MELD: SF/F Book Recommendations for Teens 13-16 – SF Signal-SF Signal