Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 5 February 2013
Source: Purchased Physical Copy
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.
Thoughts: First, the main characters name is Sophronia and she is 14. I’m usually okay with weird names, but this one was a little too far out there, even for me, and the entire story felt a lot younger than I expected. More than that, I wasn’t totally sure where the story was going for most of the book. Sophronia was inquisitive and always in trouble, which I found charming, but it isn’t until she meets Genevieve Lefoux (yes, a 9 year old Madame Lefoux) that things get interesting. From there, the pace of the book sped up considerably.
I don’t actually have too much more to say about this one. I enjoyed the characters, especially Soap and those I had met in the Parasol Protectorate series. I found a boarding school set on a dirigible the perfect setting for a YA novel in a world I already loved. Honestly, I probably like this book as a residual effect of loving The Parasol Protectorate series. I’m not sure it truly stands on its own. I plan to read book two, but if this wasn’t a spin off series, I would probably skip it.
Moments I Loved: Any time Sophronia did something unladylike… like break the dumbwaiter or stage a rescue mission.
WTF Moments: There were some fun moments, but I honestly can’t think of any true WTF moments.
Overall: It was more charming than captivating and I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t already love the Parasol Protectorate series.