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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Simon & Schuster Spring 2013 Catalog

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which an upcoming, eagerly anticipated release is highlighted on the blog.

This week, I've chosen to feature a few picks from the Simon & Schuster Spring 2013 Catalog:

Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland
Date: April 2, 2013
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Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.
Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

Girl who hears voices of the Furies in her mind and tracks down targets to satisfy their bloodlust? Now that sounds cool and original. I am so curious about Vengeance Bound!

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
Date: May 7, 2013
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Lucy’s Chantress magic will make her the most powerful—and most hunted—girl in England.
“Sing, and the darkness will find you.” This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness.
When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England.
Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion…
Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic.

Oh yes, more historical fantasy books please! I feel like I do not read nearly enough of them. Chantress sounds so haunting and intriguing - I have high expectations for this one!

Doll Bones by Holly Black
Date: May 7, 2013
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Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

After reading and loving the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black, I have been anxiously awaiting a new book from her: enter Doll Bones, which sounds like a creeptastic and original Middle Grade novel.

Linked by Imogen Howson
Date: June 11, 2013
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Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

I don't know which is more trippy - that blurb or that cover. At any rate, Linked both looks and sounds awesome and enigmatic - I absolutely cannot wait to read it!

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these Simon & Schuster Spring 2013 reads? Are there any upcoming books from the Simon & Schuster Spring 2013 Catalog that I didn't include here that you feel I should add to my list?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Publisher: Random House
Published: February 26, 2013
Pages: 304
Source: Won from Novel Sounds
Rating: 1.5 Stars

You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

In short: Unfortunately, I could not get past Dualed's completely ridiculous concept and world building and was not able to enjoy the story.
Get a load of this concept: When a cold vaccine causes infertility in the human race, the city of Kersh is established as a safe haven for the remaining members of humanity. It is decided that the best way to ensure that humans evolve to be a superior race for their protection is to create, via gene manipulation, two of every person and then have each person fight their twin, or Alt, to the death in an ultimate test of the survival of the fittest. Only then can they prove that they are worthy members of society. Between the ages of 10 and 20, twins are given their assignment to hunt down and kill their Alt before 31 days are over. If 31 days are up are neither twin has killed their Alt, they are both killed.

I knew going into Dualed that as entertaining and thrilling as the concept is, Elsie Chapman was going to have to come up with a pretty dang good explanation as to how this particular dystopian world came to be. And unfortunately, the explanation of getting children to fight their twin in a battle to the death to create a superior race? That's just dumb. And it makes no sense whatsoever. It would not create a population of superior people; it would create a population of violent, disturbed nut jobs. And even if it did make sense, or if the real reason was to create a population of soldiers, it would be an incredibly inefficient way of going about it.

Kersh is described as a "safe haven". This statement is BEYOND ridiculous. Kersh couldn't possibly be further from the description of a safe haven. Because in reality, Kersh has a murder rate of at least 50% with COUNTLESS of innocent bystanders getting killed in the crossfire. There are no gun restrictions either; anyone can just walk into a gun shop and buy whatever they need to kill their Alt. Citizens are encouraged by The Board to try to avoid killing bystanders when hunting for their Alt, but when you put dangerous weapons into the hands of desperate children, it will never end well. I could not for the life of me understand how the citizens of Kersh could be so stupid and idle; why almost no one seems to question the system and revolt against the government is beyond me.

I wanted to like West, Dualed's protagonist, but ultimately, I could not get behind a character who murders countless of people (children, really) for money and feels very little guilt over it. You see, after West loses every single member in her family to senseless killing, she decides the best way to deal with this and fight the system is to become a hired assassin - someone who offs other people's Alts for a price - and to continue senselessly killing other people! UGH, I can't even. And I was so disappointed that West never even has that realization, that what The Board is doing is utter BS, and pledges to fight the system in an actually legitimate way that makes sense. But she never once questions or fights what The Board does to its citizens.

Unfortunately, I could just not get past the complete ridiculousness of the concept and this severely affected my enjoyment of Dualed. Notice however, that even after learning of the explanation of the premise in the beginning of the story, I continued to read Dualed to the end. This is mostly because I find myself unable to DNF books, but also partly because for what it's worth, Dualed was a thrilling read. I will say that Elsie Chapman seems to be a gifted thriller/suspense writer. I would recommend Dualed to people who are looking for a fast-paced thriller and are willing to just roll with the story and not ask any serious questions about the world building.

Other Reviews:
Alexa Loves Books
Alluring Reads
Taking It One Page at a Time

Authors Links:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: February 19, 2013
Pages: 254
Source: For Review from HarperCollins
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In short: Mind Games by Kiersten White was too underdeveloped to reach its full potential.
If the majority of the book blogging community tells me a book and author are good and well worth the read, I listen. Such is how Paranormalcy by Kiersten White came to be on my TBR. While I haven't actually had the time yet to read Paranormalcy, it was made evident to me that Kiersten White has a talent for writing fun and engaging stories. So when the opportunity arose to read Mind Games, I was very eager. And who wouldn't be? Kiersten White had shown again that she can come up with entertaining concepts with her assassinating-sisters-with-superpowers storyline. But while I found the premise of Mind Games to be very exciting, my first experience with Kiersten White's writing wasn't ideal.

Told through alternating and indistinguishable first person points of view between sisters Fia and Annie, as well as alternating past and present time periods, I found Mind Games to be pretty confusing at times. The sisters have the same random and scattered kind of voice that was difficult to differentiate. The flashbacks take up a considerable portion of the book and seemed to be largely unnecessary and lacked any real cohesion to the plot at hand. I am a bit conflicted about Kiersten White's writing. It was incredibly disjointed and while I thought that worked quite well as a reflection of Fia's deteriorating mental stability, it wasn't the nicest to read. More often than not, it was just annoying.

I was excited to read a book where the main relationship would be based on the sisterly bond between Fia and Annie. The problem was, while we were told time and time again that the sisters have such a strong bond and would do absolutely anything to protect each other, I saw little actual evidence of that in Mind Games. On the romantic side of relationships in Mind Games, there is a love triangle and it was as lacklustre and unnecessary as most love triangles are. I wasn't really a fan of the characters themselves either. Like I mentioned earlier, their narratives were pretty indistinguishable from each other and I never formed any sort of connection with either of them. If there had been more differentiation and more development in their characterization however, I think I could have come to like them as I can see potential there.

And that's the thing: I could see a lot of untapped potential in Mind Games. The plot would have been pretty awesome had it been more fleshed out and not relied on all those unnecessary flashbacks. The characters' abilities were actually really interesting, but I don't believe they were used to their full potential. At 250 pages - a good chunk of which were the aforementioned pointless flashback scenes - I believe Mind Games was too short and sorely underdeveloped. I read in an interview with Kiersten White that she wrote the first draft of Mind Games in nine days and - very sorry to say this - but it kind of showed. I'm still committed to trying out Paranormalcy at some point though and I hope I respond more positively to Kiersten White's writing then!

Other Reviews:
Ex Libris
Maji Bookshelf

Authors Links:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Publisher: Angry Robot
Published: January 29, 2013
Pages: 400
Source: Won from Paranormal Indulgence
Rating: 3 Stars

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.
There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.
He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.
When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

In short: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke is an angst-ridden robot love story. Unfortunately, it wasn't the book for me.
Don't be fooled by the mention of robots in the summary for The Mad Scientist's Daughter; the story is more of a tragic romance than science fiction. The Mad Scientist's Daughter tells the story of Cat and her relationship with an android named Finn. The story spans several decades of Cat's life, starting at age 8 and continuing to her mid-thirties, and follows her struggle to come to terms with her feelings for Finn. I was surprised at how different The Mad Scientist's Daughter was from Cassandra Rose Clarke's debut YA novel, The Assassin's Curse, which is a book I LOVED. Where The Assassin's Curse was light and fast-paced, The Mad Scientist's Daughter was almost depressing in tone and quite harsh to read in comparison.

The source of this depressing tone is Cat, the mad scientist's daughter, and the novel's narrator. She is also the main source of my frustration with The Mad Scientist's Daughter. She is a terribly broken person, struggling to find meaning in her life, and I am sympathetic to that - I am, really. But at some point I just wanted her to take control of her life, rather than drifting through it and letting bad things happen to her. She does do this eventually, but unfortunately very late in the story. Prior to that, she agrees to enter into a marriage she knows will not bring her happiness and that leaves her hollow and miserable. And she returns to an abusive relationship time and time again. She is also a terrible user - using Finn as an object for sex, never once bothering to think how that might make him feel despite her supposed care for him. I was never able to form an emotional connection with Cat.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter is above all a romance. An incredibly angst-ridden one, at that. Now, the focus on the romance is an automatic dislike for me as I prefer to read plots where the main source of conflict doesn't revolve around the romance. And throw in the angst into the equation and it was almost too much for me to take. I was bored. The plot DRAGS and though I felt this was a good reflection of the lack of meaning and tediousness of Cat's life, it was still incredibly boring for me to read. I would have liked to explore the world more as I felt there was loads of untapped potential surrounding the ethics and rights of owning a sentient being, and THIS was what I was interested in most.

Ultimately, The Mad Scientist's Daughter clearly just wasn't the book for me and my critiques are all reflective of my personal biases. I do still maintain that Cassandra Rose Clarke is a great writer with a talent for enduring romances. I also really enjoyed the subtle world building and the fact that it was light on the science fiction elements. I believe that there are many people that would enjoy and appreciate The Mad Scientist's Daughter more than I did and I hope it finds its audience. Recommended for romance and robot sex enthusiasts.

Other Reviews:
More Than Just Magic
The Nocturnal Library
Sarah Elizabeth's Bookshelf

Authors Links:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Hachette Spring 2013 Catalog

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which an upcoming, eagerly anticipated release is highlighted on the blog.

This week, I've chosen to feature a few picks from the Hachette Spring 2013 Catalog:

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Date: April 2, 2013

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

So, I never read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but I understand it to be a very cute, fun romance. Thus, I assume This Is What Happy Looks Like will be a winner, as well. Also, I really love these covers!

Icons by Margaret Stohl
Date: May 7, 2013
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Your heart beats only with their permission.
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

LOVE Margaret Stohl, both as a writer and as a person. I am curious to see how her writing will differ, if at all, as an individual compared to when she writes with her writing partner, Kami Garcia. I'm excited for Icons!

The Originals by Cat Patrick
Date: May 7, 2013
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17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...
Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

Is it just me, or does Cat Patrick always seem to come up with the most interesting and original premises for her books ever? Because I remember thinking her previous book concepts were pretty cool and there's no exception for The Originals.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Date: June 4, 2013
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Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harijuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

I have The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney waiting for me on my shelf to read because I've heard good things, but I haven't yet because I suck. I've read a few early reviews for her newest book When You Were Here, and they make it sound amazing so now I have it added to my tbr, in addition to The Mockingbirds.

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these Hachette Spring 2013 reads? Are there any upcoming books from the Hachette Spring 2013 Catalog that I didn't include here that you feel I should add to my list?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Pantomime by Laura Lam

Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: February 5, 2013
Pages: 392
Source: For Review from Strange Chemistry
Rating: 4 Stars

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

In short: Pantomime by Laura Lam is a highly original and profound read with a shocking twist.
What a bizarre and yet completely fascinating and original read Pantomime was. One with an utterly shocking twist that is sure to leave you reeling. And unfortunately, it's that twist that is going to make Pantomime so hard to review because I don't want to ruin the surprise. So let's keep it simple and vague: Iphigenia, or Gene as she likes to be called, is a tomboy who wants no part leading the life of a lady, but is being heavily pressured by her marriage-obsessed mother. Micah is a vagrant of noble upbringing who runs away and finds a new home in the circus. Gene and Micah have a secret - a MAJOR one. Chapters alternate between Gene and Micah, but again, I can't say how the two are connected.

Pantomime is a fantasy though it's a very subtle one - the story reads like a Victorian Era novel with some added magical realism and a hint of fantastical mythology and history. I liked that a lot. It grounded the story and allowed the reader to focus more on the issues Gene and Micah have to deal with while maintaining a certain level of intrigue and fascination with the world. The circus atmosphere was great; debut author Laura Lam describes with perfect clarity an old-fashioned circus complete with clowns and acrobats and freaks.

I felt a heart-wrenching sympathy for Gene and Micah as they deal with the pressure to be normal and fit in, but also pride for their nerve and courage to not give in to that pressure and not want to change who they were born to be. Both Gene and Micah reach some pretty low points in Pantomime and my heart broke for them, but both demonstrate some serious chutzpah when dealing with their situations. There is some romance in Pantomime and it's of the LGBT variety. It was exciting to me, having LGBT issues brought up in a fantasy book, because it's usually contemporary reads or nothing and I applaud Laura Lam for bringing the topic to the forefront in Pantomime.

The pacing in Pantomime is a little slow and there's not much in the way of action - with the exception of the ending - but I found I didn't mind too much because I was so involved in the story and characters. I would have liked a bit more development in the mythology and history of the world as I was left with quite a few questions in the end. Overall though, I appreciated Pantomime for its originality and Laura Lam for choosing to write a book that deals with complicated and sensitive issues regarding gender identity.

Other Reviews:
My Precious
Typing Tiara
Wishful Thinking

Authors Links:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: February 5, 2013
Pages: 320
Source: For Review from Hachette Book Group Canada
Rating: 5 Stars

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.

In short: Etiquette & Espionage gets the plot, characters, and whimsical tone just right and I am now smitten with Gail Carriger.
So, I may have a new author crush. Gail Carriger is best known for her Parasol Protectorate series and while I always hear amazing things about it, I am, as always, wary when it comes to adult books. When I heard she would be writing a new YA series - set in the same universe as her Parasol Protectorate series - and when I saw the absolutely STUNNING cover for Etiquette & Espionage, I knew I needed to read it. And that's when I found out that Gail Carriger is a brilliant and clever author with a talent for humourous writing, vibrant characters, and fast-paced entertaining plots. And I was smitten.

Etiquette & Espionage is like a parody of a Victorian Era novel, complete with over exaggerated ideals of strict morality, restrained sexuality, and refined sensibilities. When Sophronia, a young lady of fourteen years, is picked to attend Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, what she doesn't know is that it is no ordinary finishing school. She is to learn to be an intelligencer - Victorian Lady-style.

It is beyond me how hours upon hours of class time could be spent just to master the art of fainting gracefully, fluttering eyelashes seductively, and blushing prettily on command, but that makes up the bulk of Sophronia's schooling, along with history classes with her vampire professor and fighting classes with her werewolf professor. Hilarious. I feel like it takes serious skill to get whimsy right as an author. Because anyone can do weird and silly, but whimsy takes a certain amount of cleverness and Gail Carriger got it just right.

As you might imagine by the humourous tone of the plot, the characters are similarly quirky and cartoonish and all together brilliant. They have names like Mrs. Barnaclegoose, Lord Dingleproops, and Mr. Shrimpdittle (snort). I seriously LOVED every single one of them. Sophronia is a bold and sensible protagonist who is well suited to a career as an intelligencer due to her curious and adventurous tendencies. All secondary characters that make up her ragtag group of friends are similarly loveable and memorable. There is the barest hint of a playful romance blossoming in Etiquette & Espionage that is sure to develop over the course of the series, involving Sophronia and a guy nicknamed Soap who is - GASP - black. And a lower class sootie to boot! Scandal.

It is possible that had I been in a more critical mood, I might have found some fault with Etiquette & Espionage. But I was in the exact mood for it and honestly, Etiquette & Espionage isn't a book that takes itself seriously so the reader shouldn't either. I admit some bias in my love for Etiquette & Espionage because it had a vague semblance to Harry Potter - a quirky boarding school, fun and cartoonish characters, a general whimsical atmosphere. Sounds good, right? You should read it!

Other Reviews:
Cozy Up With A Good Read
Megan Likes Books
Reading In Winter

Authors Links: