It seems that Ash has gone on a blogger rampage while I've been on vacation, lol. So I gotta keep up with the woman here. Though I will be strangling her for reviewing China Garden before I did, I am going to just post a lot until then, lol. Okay, so one I need to go ahead and write about this awesome book:
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Okay, so let me give you a summary from Google:
"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.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the 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."
Before I begin, I have to say that I was not a fan of steampunk, but this cover and summary sucked me in. Of course, I counted down until it came out, and let me say that it was sooo WORTH IT.
Yep! Nothing bad in this book at all!
The energy and adventure in this book will whisk you away to a time and place where robot butlers and maids are normal, where a vanishing finishing school makes young women into spies as well as women, and there's a brother school for villains. One character discusses how she can't wait to get her first husband so she can kill him. Another one was raised by wolves.
We meet Sophronia taking apart a dumbwaiter to see how it works... and things go madly wrong. With how much she ruins her clothes on a regular basis by being so very unladylike and not being presentable, this is just the last straw for her mother. Sophronia thought the infamous finishing school was going to completely boring and slowly kill her with all of the lessons that would ensue, including proper dances, how to faint properly, and what to wear for each occasion, or hour in the day.
Then the head of the school shows up, and what ensues changes everything. After all, how can you be bored when you're trained on how to keep weapons hidden in your petticoats as well as breaking hearts and such.
One of my favorite lines is "Now, remember, if there is gossip to be garnered, garner it. If there are new dress styles to be imitated, imitate them. If there are hearts to be broken, break them. That's my girls."
To sum up, honestly, this novel is so full of whimsical fantasies that you'll immediately wish were true. Anybody would fantasize about being in a school like this. It's like Hogwarts for espionage. The schools truly become like another pair of characters to love. Then all of the quirks of both schools showcases each character, from minor to main.
I honestly don't want to give away anything, so I'm just going to say that it is just an amazing and fun book! You'll start wanting to join a finishing school just in case one like Mademoiselle Geraldine's actually exists! I know I did!
You will love the well-rounded characters who are so realistic, you'll feel as if you've made a whole new set of friends and enemies. Every scene is so vivid, you'll be transported there. This is such a fun, action-packed novel that everybody should
Summary: Nothing could yank me away from this book. I was reading and reading, getting so enthralled the whole time, and wanting my own adventures. It's all well thought out, and I'm already prepared for the next one, and considering buying all of the author's other novels as well. (Oh, who am I kidding? I will.) So if you enjoy books that are magnificent, you'll not be disappointed with this one!
Suggestion: Want an escape? Read this and have an awesome adventure being part of the finishing school of your dreams!