Well, training is going about as I expected, which is why there’s been a lack of posts.
But, two weeks remain until I graduate, then we move back to Sterling. Well, close to Sterling.
In the meantime, fret not. Today I bring you a book review of Gail Carringer’s Etiquette and Espionage. My mom recommended this to me since I spend some time talking about steampunk and how awesome it is. So, she found this, listened to the audio book, and then decided that I needed to listen to it.
The story follows Sophronia Temminnick, a fourteen year old girl who lives to foil all the delicately laid plans of her family. Her mother is left with no choice but to send her to Madame Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. The academy happens to be an airship, one of the professors is a werewolf, and another is a vampire. The curriculum includes the use of fans, handkerchiefs, and proper dress, but also deception, assassination, and sneaking about.
Despite her attempts to play it by the book, Sophronia is drawn into the recovery of a certain prototype, which leads her deeper into the layers of deception from both staff and students to events that took place before she had even become a member of the academy.
Now, that sounds pretty cool, and if you’re only looking to dip your toe into the Steampunk genre, this wouldn’t be a bad way to go about it. There are automatons, including a mech-animal dog named Bumbersnoot, airships, fancy dress, and people tinkering with ideas, steam engines, wireless communication, all surrounded by the height of Victorian flair.
But, mention of the mech-animal brings me to the first annoyance: the names. Aside from Sophronia Temminnick, just about every name tells you exactly what you are supposed to feel about that person. No more description needed. Their actions don’t matter because their name completely gives them away. That got to be tiresome.
Many have compared Etiquette and Espionage to a steampunk version of Harry Potter. I can’t agree with that notion. I don’t think there was the same amount of attention to detail that J.K. Rowling developed. Hogwarts gave you the idea that the world was very big with so much left unexplored. Etiquette and Espionage left me feeling like the world is so much smaller.
As for the Steampunk itself, that one’s straddling the line. It wasn’t simply a matter of throwing goggles on random people, but it started using some of the good old-fashioned cliche’s of Steampunk. On a scale of Leviathan to Glue Some Gears on it, I still give it between a five and a six. There are some ideas about it that were good.