Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1: Phoenix Rising Review

phoenixrisingTitle: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1: Phoenix Rising

Author: Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Date of Publication: April 26, 2011

Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book

Synopsis: These are dangerous days in Victorian London as the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, an organization funded by Queen Victoria herself, investigates the most mysterious instances around the world. Eliza D. Braun is a wild and impulsive field agent, most of her investigations ending in explosions and mayhem. Wellington Books is a quiet archivist who spends most of his time in the damp archives of the Ministry. After an assignment gone horribly wrong Eliza finds herself trapped in the dank atmosphere with Wellington. As they begin to go thought the forgotten cases of the Ministry Eliza becomes determined to find the organization behind the unravel of her former partner. Along with a reluctant Wellington the two take on the forgotten case on their own, discovering one of the darkest brotherhoods in London's hidden corners.

My Review:

Phoenix Rising is an example of steampunk fiction at its absolute finest. Full of fascinating gadgets, non-stop action, and two amazing heroes this book was impossible to put down. The more I read the more I fell in love with the characters and their little quirks that made them feel so real and relatable. Paired with a fantastic plot and witty dialogue I absolutely loved this novel.

Eliza was by far one of the most fun characters I've ever read about. With her wild and impulsive behavior and her love of making Wellington, who she instantly nicknames Welly, uncomfortable I couldn't help but laugh out loud at some of her antics and adventures. Wellington, her polar opposite, also made me smile as he constantly tried to make sense of Eliza and her constant deviant behavior. Between subtle hints of romance and awkwardness I looked forward to all of their interactions.

One of the reasons I liked this book so much was the reversed roles between Eliza and Wellington. Eliza takes control of every situation, not afraid to pull out her gun and shoot while Wellington cowers behind her. Constantly torn up by the violence around him Eliza is constantly comforting Wellington and doing her best to make him uncomfortable in the process. Eliza dominates the relationship, something almost unheard of in Victorian England, making me love her character all the more.

Opening on a wild action scene and full of many more to follow this novel leaves nothing to be desired in terms of excitement. From torture, to dungeons, to wild horse chases on the streets of London there is hardly a dull moment. Eliza and her love of dynamite leaves many exploded buildings and blown up inventions in her wake, while Wellington avoids all adversaries and uses his knowledge of machines to obtain the intelligence they need.

With something for everyone, Phoenix Rising turned out to be a fantastic novel. I loved the characters, the action, the adventure, as I deftly turned pages and got lost in the story. An amazing novel on all counts this is one I would undoubtedly recommend!


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