Mini-Review: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger


Sophronia’s a tomboy, and given her talent for getting into mischief and being nosy, her mother finally decides it’s time she learned from the professionals to be a lady. Sophronia’s horrified to find herself enrolled at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

Yet, she’s about to learn that when your lessons include how to bat your eyes at gentlemen while deciding which poison to use in their mutton chops, the school can still be pretty fascinating for those whose interests lie less in the etiquette of murder and more in espionage.

The Academy exists aboard a string of interlaced dirigibles, and the girls learn everything from cooking and seduction to self-defence against vampires. Along with her new friend Dimity, Sophronia turns her natural curiosity towards spying and discovers a number of the Academy’s secrets. Her main priority is to locate a mysterious ‘prototype’ before it falls into the wrong hands.

An unconventional Victorian lady, she’s not interested in lumping people into upper and lower classes. She makes friends with a gang of misfits who share her disregard for ‘how things are done’. This novel is a madcap adventure filled with werewolves, vampires and automatons. There’s more silliness and less romance than I was expecting, but that’s not a bad thing, I’m looking forward to Sophronia’s finishing at the Academy.

For a short & sweet pictorial review, check out PictureMeReading’s review, here.

Goodreads I TheBookDepository I Amazon UK

This book counts towards my Steampunk’d Challenge –  8 books down 22 to go 🙂


  1. I really enjoyed this one too! It did feel a bit younger, with more focus on whimsical humor than romance but I didn’t mind it at all. Can’t wait for book two! Lovely review 🙂

  2. I love the cover for this and it’s set in the Victorian period! ! I love it already! ❤ Lovely review! I am so adding this to my ever growing TBR list.

  3. This is a fantastic premise — one of those where I grumble, “Why didn’t I come up with something as cool as that?” It sounds really fun. Thanks for the review! 🙂

    1. I felt that way when I read Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate as well! The world she created has such potential, and the idea of a floating Academy for young ladies to learn murder and espionage…well, that’s genius 🙂

  4. I love the sound of this! I really wanted to check out the Parasol Protectorate series first, but I think I’ll just pick this up the next time I see it at the library. Great review, Katja! 🙂

    1. Thanks Lee. The Parasol Protectorate is a 4-5 star sort of series, and this first Academy book a 3.5 -4.0 star read I’d say. Both very good, but The Parasol Protectorate’s my favourite so far. Look forward to your thoughts on either 🙂

    1. Thanks Melanie, gosh HP? I wouldn’t call the Academy very Hogwarts, and the more I think about it the only similarity I see is that we’ll have the chance to watch Sophronia grow. Probably lots of light hearted silliness will give away for more dastardly deeds…though given the Parasol Protectorate, I don’t think it will lose all it’s silliness :).

  5. A lot of people seemed to enjoy this, but not being a fan of “lighter” books, I’m not sure if I’d be one of them. It does sound very fun though, and I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. If I read it I’d probably get it from the library. Great review, Katja. 🙂

  6. Ha! Love the school studies of learing to bat eyelashes while poisoning your gentleman caller. This sounds like a fun read. Another one to be added to my TBR list.
    Thanks for the great review.

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