3.5 out of 5 Stars
First, let’s set the Mood… Might I recommend….
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.
Now, this book was a little bit slow. Not in a bad way. I didn’t get bored. It was just definitely the first book in a series gearing up to a lot. It was some amazing world building, really introducing you to the elements of this Victorian Steampunk society,
“Frowbritcher, the butler, appeared in the doorway. He paused on the threshold while his rollers transferred to the parlor tracks. He was the very latest in domestic mechanicals, about the size and shape of a daphne bush. He trundled over and looked down his beaky nasal protuberance at Sophronia. His eyes were jet-colored circles of perpetual disapproval.”
I loved the idea of the flyway men (highwaymen who attack from the sky), and the mixed fantasy elements, introducing werewolves and vampires to the mix.
Sophronia was definitely a very relatable character! I found myself highlighting passages that just said “my kind of girl!”
“I’m at my wit’s end with this one. I really am. When she isn’t reading, she’s taking something apart or flirting with the footman or climbing things—trees, furniture, even other people.””
She is strong, cunning and observant… She definitely isn’t a wilting flower, and she DEFINTITELY enjoys the boys. Ha ha! That may seem like a weird thing to say, but every male she meets in the book she seems to have a crush on. Before she even leaves the house her mother mentions her flirting and then the stable boy is the only one who seemed to be waving her off, the comments she makes about Captain Niall, then Soap has such a nice smile!
The lessons that they are taught at the Finishing School for Young Ladies of Quality made me laugh at times,
“Now, remember, my dears, a separated egg is worth two in the bush.”
““Now, ladies, remember this is for use only when strictly necessary, and you must be absolutely certain not to muss your hair. For the most part, you should delegate physical exertions to a willing, or unwilling, accomplice.”
But, there is definitely something hinky going on at this Finishing School! (yes… I just wanted to throw a Scoody Doo reference in there!), if you’d like to find out what that is… Well, I suggest you get reading!
I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Harry Potter Series, or the “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Books” by Daniel O’Malley.
Pick up your own Copy HERE!
Etiquette & Espionage is Best Served with Absinthe
For those who made it to the bottom, CONGRATULATIONS! I’s doing things a little bit different because I spent some DAMNED GOOD MONEY on this cos-play, and SOMEONE is going to enjoy it! Ha ha! Time to get our Absinthe ready!
Step 1: Put sugar cube on slotted spoon, Pour Absinthe over sugar.
Step 2: Light it up!
Step 3: Let it Burn