Thursday, April 18, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage

by Gail Carriger
Little, Brown, 2013.

Sophronia has been causing mayhem at home and her mother, at her wit's end, sends her to finishing school. But even before she arrives - when they're attacked by flyawaymen who want a prototype, to be exact - Sophronia discovers that Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is much more than just your average finishing school. Besides teaching young ladies to curtsy and behave decorously, a werewolf and a vampire are teachers, and lessons include such things as fighting (with knife, umbrella, or parasol) and the finer arts of poisoning.

If you're familiar with Gail Carriger's Soulless series, then you have an idea of what to expect in narrative voice and humor. The only clue that this is intended for young audiences is the age of the protagonists and the absence of sex (well, there's one indirect reference to it). There were parts when the action flagged, but most of the time it was a fun romp as Sophronia and friends wreak havoc and try to save the day by finding the prototype that a fellow schoolmate has hidden.

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