Espionage & Etiquette - Who Doesn’t Want an Exploding Wicker Chicken

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.
I cannot even begin to explain how much I loved Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. It is definitely one of my top favorites now and one that I will reread again. The main character, Sophronia is witty, hilarious and skilled. I loved her character so much that I was head-over-heels for the book in the opening scene. Sophronia is trying to ease drop and hides in the dumb waiter. She is trying to get it to go to the proper floor, so she takes off India rubber and instead it careens down to the bottom floor, she tumbles out violently and there ends up being dessert everywhere. As Gail wrote, “The bowl landed, in glorious perfection, atop the head of Mrs Barnaclegoose, who was not the kind of woman to appreciate the finer points of being crowned by a trifle.”
I was laughing out loud so many times during this book.
The book is set in a very steampunk era where the girls wear petticoats and large fluffy dresses, manner and finishing school are proper. But this finishing school isn’t just training them to be ladies, it is training them to be assassins. Sophronia meets some very colorful people in her pursuit to school and even gets involved in a high stakes pursuit. I loved Dimity, her little brother Pillover and Soap so much! The villain Monica was completely awful, which is perfect because I cannot stand villains that you don’t detest.
There were vampires and werewolves, but not “Twilight” style or anything like that, they were fairly normal folk with mystical tendencies. The book was just so downright funny and so witty. Gail did an amazing job and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. The audiobook was amazing, the reader did such an excellent job that I am hoping I can find the second book at the library soon!

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Isn’t Bunson’s training evil geniuses?”
“Yes, mostly.”
“Well, is that wise? Having a mess of seedling evil geniuses failing in love with you willy-nilly? What if they feel spurned?”
“Ah, but in the interim, think of the lovely gifts the can make you. Monique bragged that one boy made her silver and wood hair sticks as anti-supernatural weapons. With amethyst inlay. And another made her an exploding wicker chicken.”
“Goodness, what’s that for?”
Dimity pursed her lips. “Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?”


  1. I've been thinking about reading this because it sounds interesting. and reading through your review, I guess I should really just pick it up soon :)

  2. Oh man, I have heard so much about Gail Carriger. Have you read her Soulless series? That one is pretty awesome too. She sounds so hilarious in writing and I can't wait to pick this one up :P

    Angel @ Spare Reads


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