Thursday, April 3, 2014

Etiquette and Espionage


All growing up, I imagined being the daughter of a titled Lord and Lady of France or England. At some point, my mom told me about how a “proper lady” scoops her soup away from her body, and then up to her lips. Why that made eating (drinking?) soup proper, I’ll never know, but it did stem a passion for being a well-put together individual, which exuded in a quiet, fairly matured seeming bookworm.

The title alone made me pick up this book, not to mention the steampunk aesthetics. In fact, I didn’t read the premise of the book when I picked it up and started reading.

The idea is simple, yet well played. Set in a Steampunk era, Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger is about a young, rambunctious 14 year old girl, named Sophronia, whom can’t help but getting in trouble. Climbing dumbwaiters (and breaking them for their materials), taking mechanical clocks apart. Typical boy in girl’s garb, she sees no use or need in the art of being a woman when acting a boy is more fun and gratifying. Her mother, Mrs. Temminnick is desperate to reform her daughter, whom gets a scholarship of sorts into Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

There, she finds the Academy is more than what appearances may seem. They do learn the fine art of dance, dress, and of course, etiquette, but also learn to use their feminine wiles to dish out death and espionage.

 The book is, at it's best, alright. The cover attracted me first and foremost, which lead me to glimpse at the title. That was all it took to be placed in my hands for a night's read. The book, however, did not live up to it's covers expectations. Brava to the designer and the person whom thought up the title!
I love steampunk; an avid follower of the Girl Genius Online Comic, and a proper lady at heart (regardless of what my clutzy body will let me be.) whom even studied up on the art of the fan back in highschool! The names bothered me to no end. Not every name in the book had to be laughable or clumsy to imagine saying in your head as you read along. Yes, I understand as a cosplayer that most of the fantasy lies in names, but this book took it a little over the top. 
All in all, I would recommend it for a quick read, and who knows, maybe finish the series. If I come across the other books in a thrift store, I would not be opposed to picking them up as I hate  leaving stories unfinished and grit it out to the bitter end, but would I actively seek it out? No, most likely not.
In a nutshell:
-Finishing school
-Women using their weakness(es) as strengths.
-Naming conventions
-Writing style was on par with 11-14 year olds, rather than the turn it has become.
Overall rating: 6/10


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