Like Harry Potter at Hogwarts, when Sophronia Temminnick enters Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality she is an outsider. The other girls have inherited their placements at the school and have known all their lives they would be attending, but Sophronia never knew a floating academy with instruction in both etiquette and espionage existed until she rode through its doors on the back of one of her new professors, a proper Victorian werewolf who is nonetheless capable of leaping high enough to reach the school’s drifting campus. Fortunately, Sophronia’s lack of experience in spy-work and intrigue is compensated for by her skill at discovering and making ingenious use of opportunities. This first book in Gail Carriger’s new series is set twenty years earlier than the Parasol Protectorate, but it’s in the same paranormally enhanced Victorian England and I’m thrilled that younger versions of some of the characters from those previous books have prominent roles. There are a lot of mechanical descriptions of the steampunk aspects of the story--robotic servants on tracks and the structure of floating academy--which got me off to a little bit of a slow start with the book, but very soon I was captivated by the delights of its charming characters, elaborate plot, and witty banter.