My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My boyfriend and I liked Gail Carriger's earlier adult series (The Parasol Protectorate), and when I found this book at work (and "borrowed" it for a few days), I remembered why. Carriger is a fun and funny writer and her stories are imaginative and engrossing.
Etiquette & Espionage is geared towards a younger audience, so I didn't take it super seriously. It was fun for what it was--a tale about a finishing school that defines both "finishing" and "school" rather loosely. Sophronia Temminnick, a new recruit, learns this quickly as she boards the continuously floating dirigible that serves as the school building.
As a somewhat "prequel" to The Parasol Protectorate (the Finishing School series is in the same world, but follows different characters), it does a good job of giving backstory on familiar characters while creating a unique story with new characters. I always enjoyed Carriger's descriptions of vampires and werewolves, so I wish supernaturals would have made more of an appearance, but the non-supernatural humans were interesting as well.
This was another quick read, like most of Carriger's other books. I'm not really into steampunk as a genre, but her take on it keeps my attention. I'll stick around for the rest of the series.
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