Okay. I read this book in July and then…I don’t know…decided not to write the review right away, so you’re all going to have to bear with me here.
Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners — and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage — in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.
First off. You know right away from the main characters name that she is going to be awesome. I mean, if your mother named you Sophronia and your last name was Temminnick, you realize that you had no choice but to be spunky and different from people with normal names.
Sophronia does not disappoint. Before the plot even really gets started we see her climb up a dumb waiter shoot, dismantle said dumb waiter, and then go crashing down the dumb waiter shoot. With the parts she dismantled attached to her shoes.
Apparently this all means she is qualified for a very special flying finishing school.
I wish I had qualified for a flying school when I was fourteen. Finishing or not. Basically this is Gail Carriger’s world’s version of Hogwarts. At least in my mind. I mean, you have to ride a werewold in order to board the flying school.
Now, this shows where this book really shines. The gadgets and situations and the ridiculousness that all are beset with.
There is a plot, and I enjoyed the mystery and the clues and the characters and all that. But mostly I loved all the steampunk gadgets and the ridiculous things Sophronia would have to do or say in order to get into a room, or whatever, that was important to the plot.
Also, Bumbersnoot is just the best thing ever really. I want a steam powered pet! Though preferably a hedgehog. You should definitely check out all the Bumbersnoot fanart Gail as posted. He’s just so adorable.
As a fan of Gail’s adult series of steampunk novels, to which this is a prequel, I loved all the glimpses of characters that I know and love. Though one made me a little sad as…well, in the way of prequels, I already know how one of the characters dies. That kind of sucks.
I especially loved getting to know Vieve as a child. That was the most fun.
I cannot wait for book two, Curtsies and Conspiracies. Though I’m definitely going to have to re-read Ettiquette and Espionage first. I hope there’s an audio book!
Aren’t the covers GORGEOUS!?!?!?