Reviewed by Natalie Gerritsen
The year is 1851 and England is a place where the nobility lives side by side with vampires, werewolves and mechanical house servants. In this setting we meet Sophronia, a fourteen year-old girl who likes climbing and adventure and just isn’t interested in acting like a proper lady, which drives her mother crazy. When her mother just can’t handle her anymore, Sophronia is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, where she will be taught some manners and etiquette.
When Sophronia arrives, she soon finds out that the academy has another side. Sure, the teachers do teach etiquette, but they also train their students in espionage and assassination. It doesn’t take long for Sophronia to thrive in her lessons, but also to make an enemy out of the older but corrupt student Monique. When she learns that Monique is trying to betray the academy by stealing an important prototype, Sophronia vows to stop her. In the exciting adventure to follow, she needs all her newly learned skills.
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger is a Young Adult book, which is always a tricky label. The line between children’s fiction and adult fiction is fine indeed. This book aims at the younger group of the young adults, which means that the adventures are light-hearted and clean. The story and writing style don’t bother too much with deeper feelings or complexities, but are just plain fun. A very nice book for a teenaged sister or niece, but also fun for the adult looking for some simple and quick entertainment.
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