Book Review: “Etiquette&Espionage”

etiquette-1 I have to admit that this was a cover buy. When I saw this amazing cover I just knew I had to have it! And after I read the summary, I was sold!

The summary promises a great adventure story, which I was totally expecting! I cannot say that I didn’t encounter adventure, it is just that I didn’t quite like how it all happened. In other words, I had a very different image of how this would happen.

Here is the summary after which I will add my overall opinion:

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Now as you can see, there aren’t many words that a non-native English speaker wouldn’t know. However, this book contains TONS of words I did not understand. Sure, a lot of them were names for different mechanisms and stuff like that, but a book that contains this much description, I think it would need some pictures to help the reader imagine the details better. I, for one, had a really hard time imagining half of the things described in the book.

After I read the summary, I thought that I would read a story filled with adventure and action and probably a bit of romance.  And even though my thoughts were very close to the truth, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I disliked this book so much that it took me six months to finish- I would read a chapter every two weeks.

These may be details that steam punk readers might not care for, because they know the words used there. But I, a new reader of the steam punk genre, did not understood half of it and had gigantic problems understanding the other half.

I cannot judge this book as a steam punk reader would. I think the plot was promising and the characters fun, but I had higher expectations of this book.

I agree that it might have been my mistake for buying a book only because it had an interesting summary and a pretty cover and not reading it’s reviews, but I also think that the fault is on the writer’s part as well. I mean, not everyone has read steam punk, but we might want to start the genre with this book, and how do I do that? Cause I need a dictionary near me at all times. It’s not that nice to be frank. I can sadly add that this is a series that I will not complete, probably ever.

Now, maybe some of you might contradict me, which is totally fine because everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I honestly think that a person which has never read steam punk before will find difficulties in finishing this story.

I recommend this novel to every steam punk lover. I can only give Etiquette&Espionage 3 out of 5 stars.


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