Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Summary: Sophronia is a bit of a troublemaker, so it’s not too surprising when her mother decides to ship her off to finishing school. Fortunately for Sophronia, “finishing school” isn’t exactly what she thought it would be. Yes, she’s learning to improve her curtsy, but she’s also learning how to properly use a weapon. Unbeknownst to her mother, Sophronia has been accepted into a school that teaches young ladies to be spies.
My thoughts: Gail Carriger’s writing is so wonderfully stylized: it reads as if it was written in the 1800s, yet there are dashes of humor that easily make the modern lady chuckle. The language that Carriger uses doesn’t distance the reader from the story, which is often a struggle for historical fiction. If you aren’t initially drawn in by Carriger’s style, give it time. You’ll fall in love.
Carriger has a tendency to give her characters bizarre names, and Etiquette and Espionage is no exception to the rule. Sophronia is our leading lady (her name being perhaps the most normal of the bunch), a scrappy you thing whose curiosity often gets the better of her. Sophronia is instantly lovable because she does exactly what we want to do as readers: ferret out the secrets that are hidden from view. Through Sophronia we are able to explore the crazy paranormal-is-normal world in which Etiquette and Espionage is set.
More than being a tool to help unravel the mysteries of the novel, Sophronia is also a charming character to read about. Even better, she’s dynamic: by the end of the book, it’s clear that she isn’t the same girl she was in chapter one.
The minor characters were perhaps my favorite part of Etiquette and Espionage. They’re never what you expect, yet they’re introduced in the most nonchalant manner: Oh, this professor is actually a vampire. That’s nice. Moving on!
If you enjoy humor and adventure, you’ll love Etiquette and Espionage. It’s not a quick read, but it’s a very, very fun one. I can’t wait for book two!
For those who like: historical fantasy, adventure
Comment question: What would you consider to be the most important skill for a young female spy?