Steampunk plus young lady spies-in-training – smashing!
I do so want a steam-powered mechanimal dachshund like Bumbersnoot, even if I would have to break his coal into tiny nibbles.
Read excerpts at io9 and at Tor to be properly introduced to Sophronia and her interesting world, browse politely inside the first pages of the Finishing School series: Book the First at the publisher’s site, then proceed in a stately manner to acquire Etiquette & Espionage at your local library or independent bookstore – posthaste, as it was just published last week!
And do watch for flywaymen and other air pirates along the carriage roads…
My Recommendation: She’d much rather disassemble the robot butler than learn etiquette, but well-brought-up young ladies in 1851 British society must have impeccable manners. How else to distinguish persons of quality from vampires, werewolves, and other beings of lower social class?
Tumbling out of the dumbwaiter covered with pudding was perhaps not the best way to meet the finishing school headmistress. However, Miss Geraldine accepted Sophronia to the Academy because of the 14-year-old’s curiosity and resourcefulness, despite her dreadfully subpar curtsy.
Surviving an attack by flywaymen on their carriage journey, Sophronia is somewhat startled to find that the Academy floats above the moors, that the Miss Geraldine who visited her mother is not the Miss Geraldine who heads up the exclusive school, and that dashing Captain Niall is a werewolf (with impeccable manners, it must be noted).
Aboard the triple dirigibles of the Academy, she meets the real Miss Geraldine (who seems quite unaware of the deadly classes being taught on board), teachers of non-quite-human persuasion (but excellent taste in fashion), and the sooties below decks who stoke the mighty furnaces powering this most unusual finishing school.
Classes for dance and the deadly uses of hatpins, the sudden appearance a darling mechanimal dachshund (which needs wee bits of coal to keep going) bearing threats from villains about handing over a prototype, and odd preparations for an outing at their allied school for boys keep Sophronia and the other young ladies quite busy – but not so busy that they can’t do a little sleuthing of their own.
Why does Miss Geraldine not know that her school is training spies and assassins?
What is the device whose prototype is coveted by so many?
Will Sophronia learn to curtsy properly in the few months before her sister’s debutante ball?
Book the First of the Finishing School series brings together steampunk and high manners with great success, inviting readers along on the astounding journey of clever Sophronia, her new friends, and her new enemies. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.