Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris, and Phillippa Ballintine

Book: Phoenix Rising (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1) 
By: Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris, and Phillippa Ballintine
Published: April 26, 2011
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

Description:  Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!

My Thoughts: I love steampunk. More than that, I love steampunk that boasts an eccentric female main character who barely follows societal rules for women, choosing instead to crack cases, kick asses, and take names. Phoenix Rising is one such book.

As the description states, we follow Eliza Braun and Wellington Books. Near the beginning of the book, the two are at each other’s throats. Eliza was a field agent, who got too…explosive in the field and was reassigned. Wellington “Welly” (as Eliza so lovingly calls him) happily runs the archives until Eliza comes down and ruins a couple things.

As you would expect, these two eventually overcome their differences (as much as they can) and band together to investigate a series of peculiar occurrences (pun intended) that were set aside as unsolvable. What results is a story full of danger and undercover intrigue, era appropriate sexual innuendo, and plenty high speed carriage chases to suitably meet your steampunk needs.

I really liked this, though I’ll admit, it got off to a pretty slow start. I usually hope to get sucked into a story within the first chapter, and unfortunately, I just wasn’t with this one. That being said, I held out, hoping it would get better, and near the middle of the book, it did.

I give this book 3.5 stars. I really was disappointed in the way it began, and I wished I could have gotten more out of it still, it picked up a bit near the middle and I enjoyed it. I still wish I would have gotten a bit more out of it, which is why I’m not giving it more stars. I’m hoping I’ll feel better about the next one in the series. I’m about to start it shortly.

I would recommend this story to those interested in steampunk books with a hint of romance, and tons of sexual innuendo, with lots of investigation and mystery. I can see this becoming a good series.


Penelope Sanchez said...

Fun read, SteamPunk a mix of modern attitudes with Victorian morals. The hero has restricted stuffy POM attitudes while the heroine is a go-getter and very modern, shocking her partner. But the mix is fun and the story is interesting. Looking forward to more from Pip.

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