Published: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk
Pages: 307 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, 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.
I’ve had my eye on all of Gail Carriger’s books for quite some time now and I finally picked up one of them. Much to my delight, it was everything I could have expected and many things I didn’t know I even wanted- it was like finding out that you can have donuts AND cake at the same time! This is a young adult series set in the same world as the adult fantasy Parasol Protectorate books. This books was such fun- this might sound crazy, but it was like a steampunk version of Dexter’s Laboratory & the Powerpuff Girls smooshed together, stirred up, and baked into a delightful tart. Obviously I’ve got desserts on the mind!
Sophronia Temminnick is a troublesome youngest daughter that likes to do all sorts of things her mother finds appalling and as a result, she’s being sent to finishing school. Oh the horror! Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality isn’t just about the traditional lessons; girls here learn the tradecraft of spies and assassins. The girls end up getting in some rather interesting situations ( I expected no less) and it was a rollicking good time the whole way through. There was one particular character whose name was Dingleproop and I kept misreading his name as Dinglepoop, which made me laugh in a MOST unladylike manner. It was ridiculous and there were so many laugh out loud moments- I loved it.
Though the story read as ridiculous and light, there was a legitimate, well planned plot happening. In between all the nighttime expeditions, lessons, and such the main issue at hand was at times forgotten, only to resurface suddenly and remind the reader that not all is fun and games. I loved that this book was terribly serious and mature. I need to read more books like this because sometimes I just get weighted down with all these books about saving humanity and stopping total destruction. The dark, troubled characters get stale after awhile and this book was a breath of fresh spring air!