Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Phoenix Rising (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel) by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

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!

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1 | Harper Voyager | April 26, 2011

Ballantine and Morris' well-crafted debut provides mystery, intrigue and a brilliantly paired duo, Books and Braun.

Agent Eliza D. Braun is a strong and admirable heroine. She is sassy, playful, and full of life. Her occasional moments of recklessness and her penchant for dynamite are all a part of this Ministry agent's charm.

Archivist Wellington Thornhill Books Esquire is Eliza's complete opposite.

He's disciplined, well-mannered, often snobbish and uptight. He's comfortable in his routine and prefers being isolated deep within the Ministry's Archives. He's also very clever and occasionally charming. 

As a punishment for her insubordination while in the field, the director of the Ministry places Eliza in the Archives to work alongside Wellington, or Welly, as she prefers. 

Eliza is introduced to the Ministry's unresolved case files. One case in particular involves her former partner, Agent Harrison Thorne.

Showing little regard for authority, Eliza decides to unofficially reopen the case and manipulates a reluctant Books into becoming involved as well. This is when the action increases, the mystery begins to unravel, and an Archivist's loyalty and patience are thoroughly tested. 

I adored Ballantine and Morris' writing style. The point of view changes throughout the story flowed smoothly and were orchestrated in a way that keeps the reader engaged.

After finishing this story, I immediately went in search of news on the second novel of Peculiar Occurrences. Unfortunately, I wasn't successful in finding any useful information. 

Hopefully, there are future plans to continue this series because I, for one, am interested in reading more about Books, Braun, and their next adventure for Queen and Country.


Braine Talk Supe said...

First off the book cover is inspiring as Halloween is just around the corner.

Second I love anything historical. Victorian London and I'm in!

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