Etiquette & Espionage
This young adult steampunk series debut set in the same world as the New York Times bestselling Parasol Protectorate is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger's legions of fans have come to adore.
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 they 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.
When troublesome 14-year-old Sophronia is sent off to attend Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, she is none too happy about it. Her despair evaporates, however, when she learns that, at Mademoiselle Geraldine's, "finishing" means learning the finer points of deceit, espionage, and assassination. Far from a stodgy old castle, the school is a giant dirigible that floats above the moors. Effortlessly blending Victorian, paranormal, and steampunk elements, Carriger offers a feast of words (flywayman, mechanimals) and names (Dimity Ann Plumleigh-Teignmott, Phineas B. Crow) to lunch on in her YA debut, which is set in the world of her Parasol Protectorate books for adults, but several decades earlier. Carriger deploys laugh-out-loud bon mots on nearly every page ("But I don't want to be a vampire drone," Sophronia whines to her sister early on. "They'll suck my blood and make me wear only the very latest fashions"), and Sophronia is a capable and clever heroine. Amid all the fun, the author works in commentary on race and class in a sparkling start to the Finishing School series. Ages 12 up.
Artful & Cunning
C.S. Lewis said that, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” and the same is true for YA. Gail Carriger approaches her YA as an adult book and successfully writes some compelling, interesting, and dynamic young characters. Perfectly executed.
Teenage Steampunk Awesomeness
This is a fun read, and I am eagerly awaiting the hinted at sequel! My favorite parts are all spoilers, so just read it.