Series: The Finishing School #1
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest reviewRelease Date: February 5, 2013
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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 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.
Gail Carriger has written some interesting stories with her Parasol Protectorate series from what I've heard, and I really love the idea of ladies learning to fight. In my head, I imagine these women in large dresses (similar to the one on the cover) kicking butt. I was interested in this story but there were a few things with this that got in my way of really loving everything.
The main character of this novel, Sophronia, was a really interesting girl. I enjoyed following her through everything. She was very inquisitive and knew to question everything and anything. I like seeing a character who knows how to think for herself and doesn't just blindly follow along with everything that she is told. Sophronia also knew how to get answers to her questions, everything about the finishing school is shrouded in secrets, no one tells Sophronia anything so she works her own way to get information.
The secondary characters were well written and did a great job helping Sophronia through her troubles. I really liked Soap, he was adorable and a great match for Sophronia, and you can see a hint of a romantic interest but nothing actually happened in this book, it was all about getting answers. Vieve was my favourite of everyone, such an adorable character, and I loved how Vieve was the smart one, and was able to make the different devices used throughout the novel.
There were a few issues I had, that kept me from really loving this book. The biggest one for me was the names of the characters, it's such a small issue but I found myself distracted because the names were a little weird and I lost track of who was who at times. The names were long and awkward to read, but I will admit that they were fun by the end of the book. The biggest thing for me though was that there wasn't much information on the teachers of the school. I found that the teachers and even the headmaster were a big part of the story but we don't know much about them or the school. I felt like I was missing out on something.
As much fun as I had reading this book, I just felt like I missed out on information and by the end I got a little distracted with things that I was lost to what was happening with everything. This was definitely an adventure of a book, but I hope that the rest of the series will give out more information about the school and the characters involved.