Tuesday 26 February 2013

Etiquette Espionage - Finishing School Book the First

Etiquette Espionage - Finishing School Book the First by Gail Carriger (Little, Brown/Atom/Hachette)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 9781907411588
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
This quirky novel is within the author's Parasol Protectorate Series and aimed at the 12+ market.
Set in a time governed by manners and etiquette rules, the gender divisions of accepted behaviour and the use of extravagant names, readers may wonder if they are in for an old-fashioned read. But the antics of Sophronia Temminick will lure the sceptics to persevere, despite the ridiculous character names. Mrs Barnaclegoose, Frowbritcher, Pillover are some examples. The use of uncommon words, e.g., dirigible, india-rubber may puzzle, but it isn't long before the reader discovers the story, unfolded in a combination of yester-year and modern language, is part of a fantasy which includes mechanicals, flywaymen, werewolves and vampires.
Sophronia is packed off to a finishing school for young aristocrats in a horse-drawn carriage. But it soon becomes clear to Sophronia that there is a mysterious element attached to one of her companions, particularly after they are attacked by sky highwaymen (flywaymen) who are searching for some unknown object. Our heroine being both courageous and a tom-boy, saves them from the flywaymen and determines to discover what they are after and why.
With great imagination, Carriger unfolds an amusing and exciting first novel in the Etiquette and Espionage series. The book is a stand alone, and readers will enjoy the send-up of the English aristocracy's expectations of young ladies as well as the mystery-fantasy element. 

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