Etiquette & Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage

eBook - 2013
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In an alternate England of 1851, spirited fourteen-year-old Sophronia is enrolled in a finishing school where, she is suprised to learn, lessons include not only the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also diversion, deceit, and espionage.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316215220
Characteristics: 1 online resource (307 p.)
Alternative Title: Etiquette and espionage


From Library Staff

To cure Sophronia of her unladylike behavior, her mother enrolls her in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Mademoiselle Geraldine's is more than meets the eye: its prim and proper students are also assassins-in-training! Spies meet steampunk in Gail Carrig... Read More »

ALEX FALCK Apr 15, 2015

This is a fun adventure story, a good read as long as you're not looking for anything too realistic or wondering how everybody avoids dropping dead from carbon monoxide poisoning with all those coal-burning robot servants and mechanimals they keep indoors.

From the critics

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Jun 13, 2020

I love everything I've experienced by Gail Carriger. I say "experienced" because I have now enjoyed eight of her audiobooks. I love the richness of the characters and the world, the humor and quirkiness throughout, and the descriptions of the clothing. The Finishing School series is great for young adults. The Custard Protocol is great for adults. These books are all narrated by Moira Quirk and, in my opinion, is the only way to consume them! Ms. Quirk performs them beautifully and makes voices for the different characters. This helps to keep them straight, sometimes, but always helps develop the characters.

In my opinion, anything by Gail Carriger is a sure bet!

Desire Deschenes
Mar 25, 2020

This book was impossible to finish. It was a cool concept at first, but it became way too complicated without explaining much, and then became way too slow to the point that I gave up trying to read it. The progression of events was not well-spaced, and the world-building either didn't make sense or wasn't well planned out. It did have a creative title, and a nice idea, but the whole writing style was so bland and difficult to read. I had tried making blackout poetry of a copy I found on the free bookshelf. The writing itself was so incredibly bland that I was unable to make anything of it, despite trying a lot on different pages. At the teen book club discussion for this book, most people didn't finish and had the same opions.

Sep 24, 2019

I read this for the "Set In The Victorian Era" part of my 2019 reading challenge. I didn't love it as much as the Parasol Protectorate series, but it was still very entertaining.

Aug 17, 2019

The first book of the Finishing School by the New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger, Etiquette and Espionage is a charming and funny novel set in the Victorian era. Fourteen year old Sophronia does not exactly have the best manners and definitely no great curtsy but she is great at dissecting mechanicals and climbing to high heights though her mother and sisters strongly disagree that these are talents. So when Sophronia finds out she's going to a finishing school, she's not exactly surprised but she is surprised when the finishing school is not at all what she expected. I think the best way to describe this book is that it’s almost like a steampunk version of Harry Potter. It's comical yet still serious with a lot of action. The plot twists are totally unsuspected and unannounced, which I love. As mentioned in the title, it includes a lot of espionage and that has always been one of my favourite subjects. Overall, I really enjoyed this book (I finished reading it in one evening) and would rate it 5/5 stars. For readers over the 7th grade. @VioletFeather of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

IndyPL_SteveB Jul 03, 2019

A fun tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps “tongue-in-chic”) teen novel about 14-year-old Sophronia Temminnick, who is sent off to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. It’s 1851 in an alternate steampunk England, and the “finishing school” is a school for teaching young women the arts of espionage and assassination, along with dance, dress, and deportment. The school is held aloft by blimps, powered by steam, with mechanical servants, and an unusual cast of teachers, including a vampire and a werewolf. The book’s catch phrase for the school is “The Fine Art of Finishing Others.”

There is a plot of sorts, about a missing invention that must be found and attacks by mysterious “flywaymen” (air pirates) who wish to steal it. But the fun is in the British characters, from the snooty daughters of Lords to the merely middle class, but plucky, young ladies (like Sophronia), and even a few distinctly working class boys (“sooties”) who run the coal-powered engine room. This is the first of a series. They are connected with an adult series that Carriger has written, “The Parasol Protectorate” series, which begins with the book “Soulless.”

ReadingAdviser_leni Jun 21, 2019

This finishing school is an airship! Oh, how I enjoy steampunk. Plus, the girls are learning to be spies, which is an excellent twist on finishing schools. The book is a wonderful, fun adventure with so many great characters. And the names are hilarious, for example, Mrs. Barnaclegoose.

Jun 05, 2019

why does every other book in this series have Audio CD or Downloadable versions but not the first one? this is a frequent and annoying problem in the HPL catalog.

May 10, 2019

I enjoyed this book. It started out a little slowly but did pick up as it went along. I also got a few good chuckles out of it. This is a solid introduction to a new female protagonist, Sophronia, whom I liked, and who has a lot of potential to grow even more in future books. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Mar 23, 2019

I enjoyed this tween version of the adult The Parasol Protectorate series. Sophronia is a smart and feisty heroine who practices "question authority" with fervor. The story was enjoyable, but a little too witty at times, like it was trying too hard.

It is set in Victorian times so you have all the etiquette and dress codes, but she throws in vampires and werewolves. Sophronia is chosen, to her surprise, to attend an unusual finishing school for young ladies. Set in the same universe as Carriger’s adult series, The Parasol Protectorate, it tells the story that took place before that series. Entertaining, well-written, and intriguing, this series is good for both adults and teens. (submitted by SB)

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Add Age Suitability
Mar 21, 2020

black_swan_259 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

OPL_KrisC Aug 28, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jan 10, 2016

white_horse_316 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nov 05, 2015

janetumukoro thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Feb 06, 2015

Love_Legolas_111 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

LadyLynx Aug 17, 2014

LadyLynx thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 19, 2014

StrawberryMilk thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jun 15, 2014

mkastar thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Feb 01, 2014

Gr4c13 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 17


Add a Quote
Oct 16, 2016

"Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?"

Sep 05, 2015

Pullover Thadddeus Plumleigh-Teignmott, what are you wearing?
They heard pillover reply querulously, "a petticoat, headmaster"

Sep 05, 2015

"Boys have it far more jolly." Vieve gave one of her dimpled grins. "I assure you, I find female dress fascinating. I simply prefer not to wear it myself.

Jul 20, 2013

Our daddy is a founding member of the Death Weasel Confederacy, and Mummy is a kitchen chemist with questionable intent, but poor Pillover can't even bring himself to murder ants with his Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification.

Jul 20, 2013

The trifle did it.


Add Notices
Feb 06, 2015

Violence: Being a finishing school training "intelligencers", the girls are taught the finer arts of "killing", and there is some violence throughout the book. There is talk of poisoning people, including one girl relishing in the subject (she wants to poison her first husband).

Feb 06, 2015

Coarse Language: Monique angerly says "a*se" (I'm not sure if this an exclusively British profanity, but...). Pillover says "We're d***ed".

Feb 06, 2015

Sexual Content: Women's bust sizes are sometimes compared. Sophronia thinks girls like Captain Niall so much because he's "completely naked" under the greatcoat he wears. One side-character who dresses like a boy is revealed to be a girl. However, she only dresses like a boy because she reasons "boys have more fun", or something like that.


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cmlibrary_jcurrie Sep 23, 2018

This story is set in an alternate version of England in 1851. Sophronia comes from a large family and she is the youngest child. Her mother considers her to be a troublesome child and in desperate need of learning how to behave like a lady. Her mother enrolls her in a finishing school to learn social graces. Sophronia is dreading being sent away from home and learning all about proper etiquette for young ladies. She is quite surprised when she discovers that her school not only teaches etiquette, but it also has classes for spies in the making.

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