I read Soulless a while ago, and liked it enough that I had a vague intention of reading more, but not so much I was in a hurry. Likewise, I only really picked up Etiquette & Espionage because I know that Carriger’s work is pretty fun, and it was in a 3 for £5 deal in the Works. And then it languished on my to read pile for… well, just over a year. But I was feeling a bit bleh about the other books I had lying around, so I decided to just go for it and try this — and I promptly read it in one go.
It’s not a book I love like I loved, say, The Goblin Emperor. It’s more like frothy fun. It works well for that, though: 19th century sensibilities in a steampunk alternate history, girls learning to be spies, and a sprinkling of adventure. I liked Sophronia; she’s not perfect, but she tries to be decent, she doesn’t have prejudices, she does her best for the people around her, and she lets nothing get in the way of her curiosity. I guess the best term might be ‘spirited’, which does make me sound like some faintly disapproving adult…
It’s fun, and I’d definitely recommend it to teens who want a bit of adventure and supernatural stuff, without accompanying sparkles or plagiarism. (Sorry, they’re easy targets.)