Friday 16 December 2011

Review: Phoenix Rising - Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris

Series: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1
Genre: Steampunk
Pages: 402
Published; 2011
Publisher: EOS
Source: My own

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 had hoped to like this one more, sure it was good and all, but you know, those hopes ones have. First it looks so cool and it sounds so good too. 

Eliza was a good kick-ass heroine who liked explosives and sometimes acted a bit too soon. While her new partner in crime, Books was a the nerdy guy from the cellar who does not act and who would rather read books. Oh yes what a couple. He is also upper class, while she is from the colonies (though he is a decent fellow). Together they made a good miss matched couple. 

There is action, mystery and strange things going on. The steampunk angle was there, though in a different way. She had her guns, there was talk about machines, but it was never really out there. Perhaps I had wanted a bit more. 

It did fail to catch my attention a few times, and I just do not know why. I liked them, I liked the banter, I liked the sparkle of true English phrases, but it never got my heart. Still it was a nice addition to the genre. 

I do wonder why she is dressed like that on the cover though, she prefers pants and not looking like a streetwalker



  1. I love the sound of this one, I'm such a fan of steampunk, but I definitely know the feeling of just wanting a little something more. Thanks for the review!

  2. Bummer that it didn't work better for you. There should be more books about librarians!

  3. Jenny
    A lot do love it, but for me...dunno something was missing. And I really do not know what that was. That happens sometimes

    Though he wanted to be called an archivist, hmpf, librarians are better

  4. I love the cover on this one and the synopsis sounds so good. It's a shame it was missing that spark.

  5. Carol
    At least for me it did, but I sure know someone who loved it

  6. Bummer to hear that you didn't enjoy this one more. Maybe the 2nd book (when it comes out) will be better for you. Sometimes I have a harder time getting in to the first book of the series :) I actually really enjoyed this one but that is why readers are so great. I enjoy reading about what others did/didn't enjoy about books.

  7. Samantha
    I have had that happen before. There was this one really good series, but the first book was just ok. But I did not give up and the 2nd one was really good :)

  8. I picked this up when I went through a steampunk phase earlier this year but haven't read it yet! Perhaps steampunk needs a revivial for me next year...

  9. It's always frustrating when your expectations of the book don't match with the story, and it leaves you wanting more. Thanks for your honest thoughts :)

  10. This does sound very tempting; I especially like the sound of Books! I’m sorry it disappointed you.

  11. LOL Streetwalker!

    I really did like this one. I thought it was one of the much better steampunks out there. Perhaps if the relationship was a bit better managed. I think they left it more open for further books. Hope you like your next book better!

  12. Sounds interesting and the cover is very intriguing.

  13. I hate it when a book just does not hold your attention. I'm fairly new to steampunk, and am going to have to give it a try even if it was missing something for you.

  14. Sorry you didn't like it more. The summary sounded good especially with the mention of a bulletproof corset.

  15. Mel
    I think that that sounds like a good plan :) Truth be told, I have not read that much steampunk. Some, but not much, there are so much more out there.

    YA Queen
    It's so sad :( But that is life, I really should not go in with high expectations.

    It happens, and it was still good, but oh I should not go in thinking it is gonna rock my world.

  16. Melissa
    Aye, I could not say the other world ;) I am getting such weird search phrases, lol.

    True, I felt like they could have had more chemistry, but it was not like they should have hooked up at once. I did like that nothing happened...oh I do not know.

    It does look really good

    Yes give it a go, I do like steampunk cos it is so freaky. And I liek freaky.

    Hihi, now that would be something to have

  17. Hmm...I'm still waiting to find that Steampunk that I will love. This sounds interesting and they do seem like a fun miss matched couple.

  18. Naida
    I have ups and downs, but it is like that with every genre. I do hope you find a good one

  19. oooh this looks really good, i love steampunk!

  20. Sometimes you just don't connect to a book, doesn't mean it is not a good one. It does sound interesting.

  21. Even though the goods are on the display on the cover, it's still draws my attention. Sorry this book wasn't exactly what you were looking for. Shame too because it sounds good.

  22. Aurian
    So very true. It was good, just not for me

    I do like the cover, it is just not her. And well try it and see if it is good :D

  23. I kinda get what you mean when you said that "it failed to catch your attention"... when I was reading the Order Of The Deacons books, I find myself needing short breaks while reading... The books have good story and has cohesive structure, but the story telling quality is, for some reason, not that compelling...

  24. I'm sorry it didn't catch you all around. But glad you still liked it and gave it a go. :)

  25. Cherry
    I think you nailed it there. It was good, but yes the quality of the storytelling, I was not compelled to read on and on. Too many breaks for me is not a good thing at all.

    It was still good, I just hoped I would love it as much as you did



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