Saturday, May 12, 2012

Early Review: The Janus Affair (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2) by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

 May 29th, 2012 | Harper Voyager

Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance . . . with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books . . . and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

"We are partners. While life in the Archives moves at a more pedestrian pace than her previous exploits, it is that other life I have caught glimpses of in our brief time together that has made me feel..." And his voice trailed off again.
"Alive, Mr. Books?"
He nodded appreciatively. "Well put, Alice."

Ballantine & Morris' sequel is as clever and well-crafted as its predecessor, with an abundance of witty, playful banter, an intriguing mystery, and a satisfying ending.

Once again, Archivist and Jr. Archivist, Books and Braun, neglect their duties in the Archives to investigate a mystery without the Ministry's approval.

The task of persuading Books to aid Eliza and place his career in jeopardy is much easier for her this time around. Their relationship seems to have strengthened during their last exploits and they've developed a stronger, more trusting partnership. 

Members from the suffrage movement, a cause dedicated to the progression of women's rights, are disappearing in a burst of light accompanied by a blast of heat that burns the skin of anyone within a certain radius. 

It's a very disturbing and highly confusing case with few leads and no identifiable patterns. But with their determination, Wellington Books' brilliant mind, and Eliza Braun's expertise in the field, they are the best team in the Ministry to find the mysterious device responsible and the criminal who controls it.

One of the women Eliza is most invested in keeping safe is Kate Sheppard, leader of the suffrage movement and an important part of Eliza's New Zealand past. She's brought with her Douglas Sheppard, her son and Eliza's first love. 

Although their past is complicated, it's obvious that they still have lingering feelings for each other. This doesn't sit well with Wellington and we witness an angrier, surprisingly jealous side of our usually reserved Archivist.

While the first half of the story seems to focus on building the mystery, gathering details, and introducing us to new characters, the remaining half is more emotional and action-packed. I enjoyed every minute of it.

I can't imagine any fans of Phoenix Rising being disappointed in this sequel. I'm looking forward to more explosions, more secrets revealed, and more beatings delivered by Wellington's walking stick in Books and Braun's next adventure.

"Finally, she walked up to him and gave him a hard shove, sending him backwards into the plush couch. He now looked up at her; and with her hands on her hips, lips pursed, and eyebrow crooked as she considered him, she was quite the vision. As he was sitting down, he couldn't tell if his knees were weak but he somehow knew they would be. At that moment he saw exactly why men all over the world couldn't resist the compulsion to grant her with whatever she wanted."


Bob Milne said...

As much as I enjoyed it, and thought it was a better novel than the first, that first half was tough - it felt like the mystery was dragged out far too long, and the climax wasn't quite as exciting as the first.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

Awesome review Cat!!! P.s. I like how you have raised your quotes up on the page. That looks cool, if that makes sense? It does in my head. Lol

Melliane said...

I didn't know this one, now I need to check the first one to know if I know it lol. However, I really like the cover and it sounds very interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the review!

TheReadingPenguin said...

Th cover and title alone make me want to put this on my wishlist! Thanks for sharing!

Alexa said...

I have never heard of this series but it seems like you really enjoy it so I shall have to check it out.

Thanks for the great review

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