Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

29 May

10874177

Book One in the Finishing School Series

Rating: Two out of Five Stars

This book has some really awesome qualities. And some really not so awesome qualities.

Pros:

1.) Concept – steam punk, dresses, finishing schools and assassins! What is there NOT to like about any of that?! And there is plenty of all of those yummy little things in this story.

2.) Pace – the tempo of the book is perfect for the theme; fast paced yet balanced. It has the right amount of dialogue and action scenes so it doesn’t bore you or exhaust you while reading.

3.) Um… I’ll try to think of a third…

Cons:

1.) Believability – I know I know, steampunk is a genre that you have to get into like fantasy. But my WSOD meter was way off the charts and the descriptions weren’t as developed as I wanted them to be. Pictures, as silly as that may sound, would be immensely helpful. (Scott Westerfeld did it in Leviathan!)

2.) Character Development – I wanted to strangle Sophronia most of the time. She’s a cocky, self absorbed little shit who needs to be walloped upside the head. She goes to a damn finishing school to get lady-ized and all she does is start to break more rules. WHY do the adult figures put up with it? It’s infuriating and turned me off from wanting to read the rest of the series. There’s a little thing called discipline that needs to be introduced to the book. If Sophronia would get caught, held accountable for her actions, and learned something from being punished, maybe I could empathize with her more. But instead she’s a bratty little wild child with no restraint. No thank you.

3.) Target readers/audience level – I will just go ahead and admit it: I have no idea who this book was written for. None. Zero. Zip. I know Gail Carriger has an adult series (which I have not read) and this was meant to be a YA book (but set in the same world). Hmmm… I think she got confused sometimes as to whom she was writing this for. The writing style is elevated: big words, gorgeous syntax, delicious flow. But the character is definitely a middle grade target (which is obvi from my rant above). Maybe she thought if she wrote the same way she did in her adult book but just made it a 14 year old character it would be ok? But I think if I was a 14 year old reading this, it might be a touch over my head. It definitely doesn’t have a specific target nor can it really cross into a Harry Potter like phenom of everyone-can-read-it book. It’s just awkwardly in the middle.

Alright, so I know my cons were a lot more con-ny then my pros were positive. I wanted to like this book, tried, cajoled, bribed my mind into wanting to adore this book. But I can’t. So I’ll leave my rating at a two and if I’m ever desperate for a book, maybe I’ll read the second in the series. Mer :/

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