Setting: Victorian London. However, this is the Victorian London not seen by your ancestors. This is the Victorian London Verne and Wells would have chosen to live in if the choice had been available. The wonderfully infernal devices evidenced throughout The Janus Affair are much more blended into the story than almost any other steampunk story I've encountered. I've heard complaints about steampunk from two almost antithetical camps. The one seems to hate anything that is overly analyzed as most contraptions would be taken for granted. The other camp has sever issues whenever there are not enough steam powered devices in evidence. I am unsure whether Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine have heard these same complaints or if they just happen to walk the perfect middle: The Janus Affair is peppered on every page with plenty of gadgets and the only device that I remember being explained is a Victorian glowstick.
Plot: Ms. Braun has much cause for rejoicing as London's suffrage movement, which is beginning to gain steam, is visited by her old mentor Kate Sheppard, the first lady of the New Zealand Suffrage Movement. However, suffragists from around London are disappearing and Books and Braun endeavor to make sure Kate isn't next.
Characters: Besides Wellington and Eliza, many of the cast from Pheonix Rising return and are fleshed out. Of particular note, the Ministry Seven have a much larger role in The Janus Affair, a fact that you'll be quite happy about. All of the characters gel a bit more in the current story and each plays their part well.
Odin’s recommendation: I make no bones here; I'm going to gush. I truly and simply loved Pheonix Rising at the time I read it and stated that it was the best example of steampunk I'd read. I continued to feel that way until I read The Janus Affair. Simply stated, The Janus Affair is a substantially better story than Pheonix Rising. I'd have given Pheonix Rising an unreserved A rating. The Janus Affair one upped it and got a perfect score; then did the extra credit. In all honesty, I can't think of a single scene I'd change.
If you're a fan of good writing, you need to go ahead and pre-order The Janus Affair now. (Feel free to click the image on the carousel to the right.) If you've never read steampunk before, this would be a great introduction. If you've felt steampunk wasn't for you, The Janus Affair will change your mind. If you're tired of books that take themselves too seriously and forget to let the reader enjoy the story and characters, Ms. Ballantine and Mr. Morris had you in mind.
I truly believe with The Janus Affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, this series will become a fan favorite and readers will demand to find out what happens when next Eliza and Welly suit up for their next adventure.(less)
Synopsis: For Agent Ciris, the mission should have been simple: get in, apprehend the target, get out. But when the simple snatch and grab goes horrib...moreSynopsis: For Agent Ciris, the mission should have been simple: get in, apprehend the target, get out. But when the simple snatch and grab goes horribly awry, the worlds first cyborg finds herself backed into a corner. At odds with her superiors, she becomes embroiled in two conspiracies — one intended to destroy her with a cybernetic virus that will neutralize the technology that keeps her alive, the other intended to keep hidden the untold secrets of her origin. With the walls closing in around her, Ciris becomes a rogue agent with no one to trust and only one objective — unravel the shrouds of secrecy before time runs out.
This cyberpunk action adventure was first released as a free audio podcast in early 2010 and promises to be the first in a long line of titles by P.C. Haring. (from Author’s site)
Setting: The setting of Cybrosis is a future world city. If it is stated, I don’t remember. It could easily be Chicago or New York. Much of the story takes place within a government facility. Each setting in Cybrosis, whether it is running down criminals in a packed urban environment or dining in a secluded manor, rings true.
Plot: In Cybrosis, Mr. Haring creates a world just entering a cybronic age. The economics of controlling this research, as well as the technology capable or allowing humans to live normal lives after the loss of a portion of their body has far reaching ramifications. Not everyone would use this technology for the good of mankind however, and Agent Ciris must fight the fight of her second life against a foe thats abilities are unknown and agenda might be larger than anyone realizes.
Characters: I loved the characters in Cybrosis. All the main characters left a lasting impression on me and I think part of the strength of Mr. Haring’s writing is his ability to create characters that resonate with the reader. They’re not perfect. They make mistakes. They prove, that even if they’re mostly machine, they’re still human.
Odin’s recommendation: Cybrosis is essentially the same story in print that it was in podcast form. Very little was changed and the book itself comes in at a bit under 100,000 words. It is an easy read that sweeps the reader from subplot to subplot with ease and keeps the level of breathless anticipation up. Though it is violent, it doesn’t have the dark feel of many futuristic cyberpunk stories. There is an element of hope where many stories in this genre prefer to dwell on the despair that dystopian society has brought upon mankind. I prefer Mr. Haring’s vision, and I think you will too.(less)
After having reviewed Blackdog by K.V. Johansen, I was eager to check out a couple more books in Pyr's catalog. For (probably) obvious reasons, I am v...moreAfter having reviewed Blackdog by K.V. Johansen, I was eager to check out a couple more books in Pyr's catalog. For (probably) obvious reasons, I am very interested in Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan. However, that title hasn't arrived in my mailbox yet, and I happened to have a copy of Hearts of Smoke and Steam at hand..
So on to the review.
Synopsis: Sir Dennis Darby has been murdered, the Automaton has been destroyed, and Sarah Stanton has turned her back on a life of privilege and comfort to try and find her way in the unforgiving streets of New York. But Lord Eschaton, the villain behind all these events, isn’t finished with her yet. His plans to bring his apocalyptic vision of the future to the world are moving forward, but to complete his scheme he needs the clockwork heart that Sarah still holds.
But she has her own plans for the Automaton’s clockwork heart—Sarah is trying to rebuild her mechanical friend, and when she is attacked by the Children of Eschaton, the man who comes to her rescue may be the one to make her dreams come true. Emelio Armando is a genius inventor who had hoped to leave his troubles behind when he and his sister left Italy for a life of anonymity in the New World. Now he finds himself falling in love with the fallen society girl, but he is rapidly discovering just how powerful the forces of villainy aligned against her are, and that fulfilling her desires means opening the door to a world of danger that could destroy everything he has built.
The Society of Steam takes place in a Victorian New York powered by the discovery of Fortified Steam, a substance that allows ordinary men to wield extraordinary abilities and grants powers that can corrupt gentlemen of great moral strength. The secret behind this amazing substance is something that wicked brutes will gladly kill for, and one that Sarah must try and protect, no matter what the cost.
Setting: Hearts of Smoke and Steam is set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century (if an exact date was given, I don't recall). The city has been redefined in a steampunk motif, and let me say, the outfit Mr. Mayer tailored for the big apple fits like a glove. It was very easy for me to slip into this alternate version of NYC, and see it through the steampunk goggles. The city itself is a very minor character and hasn't been given a complete makeover, but the principle settings rang true and I very much enjoyed this vision.
Plot: Mr. Mayer wrote Hearts of Smoke and Steam as a sequel to The Falling Machine. To my chagrin, and against my better judgement, I read Hearts without ever having read Machine. However, Hearts of Smoke and Steam easily envelopes even a new reader with an easy to understand plot. The Paragons, a group of steam powered superheroes, has been decimated and is in the process of rebuilding. One of the most powerful of the Paragons sole offspring is on her own and working towards having the heart of the Automaton, a clockwork man, rebuilt.
Characters: With any sequel, there is a likely assumption that you should all ready know the characters. This is a fair assumption. However, even with starting in the middle, Mr. Mayer's characters were easy to get to know. Some I liked, some I found annoying. However, the ones that were annoying, were crafted to be so. Mr. Mayer paints with a full palette and no two characters are remotely similar.
Odin's recommendation: There were many things I liked about Hearts of Smoke and Steam and a few I didn't.
The bad: Mr. Mayer has a tendency to repeat scenes from different characters point of view. Sometimes, entire scenes. I don't need this and actually found it a bit confusing at times.
Also, there is one character in the book that is Italian. He speaks Italian occasionally. That's a good thing. However, I wasn't able to decipher from context clues what he was saying. That made following those passages a bit difficult.
The good: In Hearts of Smoke and Steam Mr. Mayer has firmly captured my interest. I will immediately be purchasing the original story in the series and will also purchase book three as soon as it is published. Mr. Mayer, I suspect, has read a good amount of superhero fiction. That comes through in this book, but it is far from being a comic. Hearts of Smoke and Steam feels like a dream of a reality that should have existed. There is much adventure and treachery in these pages, and enough fortified steam to keep the pages blurring by.(less)
A young disabled woman in a wheelchair protects an unaware world from demons and monsters. Ester Vasquez, born with arthrogryposis, hunts the...moreSynopsis:
A young disabled woman in a wheelchair protects an unaware world from demons and monsters. Ester Vasquez, born with arthrogryposis, hunts the monsters and demons that hide from the unsuspecting masses along with her 6’8, 360lbs Samoan care provider, Sammy. In episode one – ‘Pilot’ – Ester and Sammy travel just over the Mexican border from their home in Arizona to help a little boy possessed by a demon, but what awaits them when they return home is far worse than anything they’ve ever faced. It will take all of Ester’s brains and Sammy’s brawn to repel an attack that threatens not just years of hard work, but their lives as well.
Hellwatch is planned to be an ongoing serial fiction series told in 9 monthly ‘episode’ novellas per ‘season’. This is the pilot episode, and if well received, 8 more will follow each month starting in January 2012.
Setting: With the side jaunt in chapter 1 to Mexico, the majority of the story takes place in the compound of the main character. This is her home and center of her study into the occult sciences. I live in Southern Texas myself and am somewhat familiar with the border areas Mr. Taylor describes in Hellwatch, and I can verify that they are accurately portrayed. This might seem inconsequential to most, but to those of us that are familiar with these kind of areas, if it hadn’t been accurate, it would have ruined any credibility the story would have had. Luckily, this was not the case.
Plot: Hellwatch is simply a story of an exorcist that eschews the church and believes God to either have left humans on their own, or perhaps something worse. This is not Ghostbusters the series or anything remotely silly. It is a horror story involving demons at heart. And one particular Lord of Hell has taken a personal interest in our heroine.
Characters: Ester and Sammy (the two main characters on the side of “good”) though rather 2 dimensional in many ways show signs of fleshing out and becoming fully realized as complete characters. The bad guys are truly evil, but in a story full of demons I wouldn’t expect anything else. It will be interesting to see how all of these characters progress beyond the pilot.
Odin’s recommendation: Patterning itself off of a tv pilot makes Hellwatch a short book. A novella. As many pilot eps, this first story in the Hellwatch series ends rather abruptly and leaves many gaps in the story that it is hard to gauge whether they are intentional or not. However, if the pilot is good, you are interested to see how these questions will be answered and get excited about the series. In this regard, Hellwatch does an excellent job. (less)
Setting: Clarke Lantham lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. So does Mr. Sawyer. When I read the Clarke Lantham mysteries, Mr. Sawyer transp...moreSetting: Clarke Lantham lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. So does Mr. Sawyer. When I read the Clarke Lantham mysteries, Mr. Sawyer transports me to the city of cable cars, the golden gate, Alcatraz, coastal breezes and crime. Not saying that San Francisco is synonymous with crime, but if there wasn't something shady going on, it wouldn't be much of a mystery would it? Mr. Sawyer nails the feel of this locale and I enjoy experiencing a new city through the eyes of someone that knows and loves it. Even if that someone is a fictional character. Go figure.
Plot: It's not going to end well. No, that is not a spoiler. It is a reality for any story of Mr. Sawyer's that I've read. To date. Who knows? The next one might be about the fuzzy little bunnies holiday in Tokyo. Right before the bomb fell.
Clarke is ready for the new year. He has a bottle and a couple of stogies. He needs nothing else. Still. It's not going to end well.
The plot is straight forward with only the occasional lost love of your life thrown in to muddy the waters. Will Clarke capture the bad guy? Will he find true love and not screw it up?
Characters: Clarke Lantham is probably my favorite of Mr. Sawyer's characters. And if you know how much I've enjoyed some of his stories, that says a lot. Each of the characters lives and breaths. I've known people just like them. So have you. Some of them you wish you didn't. Some of them, well, you wish you had a vat of hydrochloric acid. Still it is fair to say, each character in Smoke Rings, even the most supporting, seemed to ring true for me.
Odin's recommendation: Buy it. Read it. Thank Dan.
Seriously, if you're a fan of detective fiction, you're going to like the Clarke Lantham stories. Smoke Rings is a bit different from the other two in the series, in that there really isn't much speculative about it. That didn't detract from it in any way for me, and I doubt it will for you either.(less)
Synopsis: Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils…
And long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, th...moreSynopsis: Long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, there were seven devils…
And long ago, in the days of the first kings in the north, the seven devils, who had deceived and possessed seven of the greatest wizards of the world, were defeated and bound with the help of the Old Great Gods…
And perhaps some of the devils are free in the world, and perhaps some are working to free themselves still…
In a land where gods walk on the hills and goddesses rise from river, lake, and spring, the caravan-guard Holla-Sayan, escaping the bloody conquest of a lakeside town, stops to help an abandoned child and a dying dog. The girl, though, is the incarnation of Attalissa, goddess of Lissavakail, and the dog a shape-changing guardian spirit whose origins have been forgotten. Possessed and nearly driven mad by the Blackdog, Holla-Sayan flees to the desert road, taking the powerless avatar with him.
Necromancy, treachery, massacres, rebellions, and gods dead or lost or mad follow hard on their heels. But it is Attalissa herself who may be the Blackdog’s—and Holla-Sayan’s—doom.
Setting: In physical features, Blackdog takes place in a world much like our own. Each physical region is accompanied by its own God. The land Ms. Johansen creates in Blackdog is in many ways pivotal to the story and she crafts a landscape that becomes vivid as the reader progresses through this fairly large novel.
Plot: Blackdog is a multilayered story with all threads built around the central character of the Blackdog and his goddess mistress. Each thread is intelligently written and allows the reader to become a sympathetic co-traveller. The plot is complex and a bit different from each characters point of view. Some just want to survive and be happy. Others have agendas that wou.d make a megalomaniac look boring in comparison.
Characters: Naturally, some characters will appeal to you more than others. My personal favorite was the title character, the Blackdog. The Blackdog is enlisted to help the goddess completely without his acquiescence. He remains a reluctant guardian of the goddess while becoming increasingly fond of the child incarnation that he rescued on the side of the road. This kind of complex characterization was well done throughout the book and I expect many readers will become enamoured with one or more characters.
Odin’s recommendation: I like large books when the story is well told. The better the story, the longer I want the book to be. Blackdog was almost 600 pages long. It was much too short.(less)
Synopsis: Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were? How did they live? How did they die? Most of us do.
Genealogy is a huge business. Curiosity a...moreSynopsis: Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were? How did they live? How did they die? Most of us do.
Genealogy is a huge business. Curiosity about our bloodlines, our past, makes us want to go back as far as possible.
But, genealogy can only go back as far as there are written records. What if you had a chance to find a connection to ancient roots? To someone who lived two thousand years ago? Proof you could touch and hold in your hand?
Aine Macrea has that chance. She is the archaeologist who is on the search for a vision.
Jahna has come to her and lead her to discoveries.
In The Fox, you will follow the lives of Jahna and Lovern, two people who lived in what is now Scotland, during the time of the invading Romans. The Romans threatened Jahna and Lovern, their clan and most importantly, the life of their child. They struggled to find a way to stop the coming invasion and in doing so, left traces of their lives.
Aine is working to rebuild her career and is led by instinct, or a vision (or is it a ghost?) to a hilltop in Scotland. (The preceding synopsis was stolen from the author's website.)
Setting: Ms. Radasky sets The Fox in Scotland. Part of what initially attracted me to this story was my life long interest in this northern portion of the United Kingdom. Blame it on Doohan. However, in Ms. Radasky's book, there are two Scotland's. The present day Scotland that a few among us might know, and an ancient Scotland inhabited by druids and warriors. While I greatly enjoyed the latter, the former didn't really gel as much for me. Without spoiling the story, much of the area is the same in both situations, separated by a time shift. That time shift somehow greatly affected the word portrait Ms. Radasky painted. At least to me. Strangely, the archaic Scotland seemed much more lifelike to me than the modern one.
Plot: The synopsis above gives a glimmer of what the story is about. The two time streams do swap back and forth in being the driving current plot, until they eventually converge. Each time stream develops its own subplots and carries the readers along paths that I, at least, for one, never found very comfortable. But then again, who said life was comfortable? As I read this book I was reminded how uncomfortable listening to it had made me. Let me state here. Reading it made the uncomfortableness go away. In it's place I found acute pain.
I enjoyed the plot line set in ancient Scotland much more than the one in current times. More about this in the recommendation.
Characters: Again, there is a discrepancy between the characters in the ancient story line and the current. Jahna and Lovern had me tied into their story from the first page (ancient story line). I found Aine (current story line) to be unlikeable and quickly read through those chapters.
While this might seem harsh, let me say again, it isn't the author's job to make me love their characters. It is the author's job to make me have a visceral reaction to their characters. At least that is my thought. Ms. Radasky does that. I loved Jahna and Lovern until I hated them. Aine's character, while not affecting me as deeply, still made me angry, which is still a characteristic of decent writing.
Odin's Recommendation: Ms. Radasky did not write my favorite book when she wrote The Fox. Part of that is because she does some truly horrific things to her characters. Things that quite probably were very true to the way of life ancients in this part of the world during the time period described. I wish the entire book would have focused on the ancient civilization, and although having finished the story, I understand why there are two, I still cannot say the current timeline and the tie in interested me nearly as much. I could have/would have enjoyed it more having completely been set in the ancient world. That being said, The Fox made me angry because it made me care. If you're interested in life and legends set in ancient Scotland, Ms. Radasky has written a book for you. Warning: (and possible spoiler) Ms. Radasky in no way rewrites history. You've been warned.(less)
Title: The Metalmark Contract Author: David Batchelor Publisher: Black Rose Writing Available: Paperback and ebook
Mr. Batchelor contacted me during the...moreTitle: The Metalmark Contract Author: David Batchelor Publisher: Black Rose Writing Available: Paperback and ebook
Mr. Batchelor contacted me during the early summer months and asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing his book, The Metalmark Contract. At the time, I hadn't really entertained opening up this blog to book reviews, though I had done a few, and was surprised by the query. I thought about it for a bit and then decided I would enjoy reading something new by an author I was unfamiliar with. I informed Mr. Batchelor that I was willing, but that my timetable might be looking at months before a review could be completed. He stated this was okay and sent me a paperback copy of his book. Later, I requested a ebook version, which he also readily supplied.
So on to the review.
Synopsis: The Metalmark Contract combines a vision of how realistic, advanced alien beings might arrive on Earth with insights into how we could be our own worst enemies if that happened. Our religious beliefs, laws and political habits will govern how we respond when aliens arrive. If that happened in the next decade (the timeframe of the novel) then we would not be prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities.
Our baggage of mystical delusions, militaristic preconceptions, oppressive treatment of even the most accomplished women, and reactionary politics all sabotage our liaison with an advanced being who offers us a quantum jump in technological progress. Our only hope is the alien's forbearance and vulnerability, which make him persist in the hope of combining forces with us to save himself from lethal pursuers.
Contemporary events like the faltering of the US space program and the rise of repressive Chinese governance shape the lives of the characters in The Metalmark Contract. Our chance to join advanced beings and travel the stars is hostage to ancient beliefs, and seems doomed. Can it be saved?
The world after Metalmark arrives is transformed, as well as the Solar System, which he begins to reshape. Our best role is partner to his sculpting, but adversaries rise at the book's end. And politics in the polarized USA sabotages the greatest nation's partnership with destiny.
Setting: Mr. Batchelor creates a first contact situation like I've never encountered before. The alien life form contacts the United Nations and the majority of the story takes place in New York City. There are trips to other locations around the world, but the earth cities are pretty much interchangeable and add little to the overall story. Each location was simply the basis for the story evolution that took place at that point. While I have no issues with this, multiple references were made to the alien life form encountering different facets of our world and cultures, but little description was included from these encounters. Truthfully, this decision makes sense with the style of writing the author employed and probably would have detracted from the story he was trying to tell.
Plot: The plot of The Metalmark Conspiracy seems to be pretty straight forward. An alien life form comes to earth willing to trade advanced technologies in return for resources available in our solar system. The book centers around the conflict between human factions determining how a relationship with this alien being will affect them. I would be quite interested in a Muslim reader's take on how his or her faith was represented in the story. We're unsure whether Metalmark (the alien) is truly beneficent or has some diabolical plan we're unaware of.
Characters: There are quite a few characters in The Metalmark Contract, but few are very likable. Metalmark himself really hasn't been given enough of a personality to know whether he is the hero or the villain (and yes, I do believe this was done intentionally in an effort to build reader interest). It isn't until the last third of the book or so that the story begins to center itself around several characters and gives them a bit more soul than previously shown.
Odin's recommendation: The Metalmark Contract is an extremely well thought out story, which is very important, because it is very technical. The science in this science fiction is what drives the entire story. Which only makes sense when you read the author's biography. I had a few issues with the narrative itself. The dialogue was a bit wooden and there were many instances of strange abbreviations. Generals were routinely referred to as Gen. The President was Pres. and the Secretary General of the United Nations was the Sec. Gen. These consistently brought me out of the story and left me floundering as I struggled to resubmerge myself in the storyline. The science itself was phenomenal and I would have enjoyed even a bit deeper level of explanation on some of the purported alien technology. Mr. Batchelor mentions that his early literary heroes include Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov and this is plainly visible.
The Metalmark Contract is a fairly large book at nearly 300 pages (Trade Paper size) and though I hadn't realized it at the time I was reading it, it is the first book in a series, and it does leave you on a bit of a cliffhanger. After I had finished the book I looked to see whether this was made clear anywhere, and I did eventually find it mentioned on the Amazon sales page. However, (though I might be simply missing it) I do not find it notated anywhere on the book.
I believe The Metalmark Contract will appeal to readers that appreciate technical writing and hard core science fiction. I personally believe that The Metalmark Contract could be a very good book, perhaps even excellent, by employing the skills of a good editor who might make the flow of the story a little more manageable to the average reader.(less)
Deacons of the Order, Sorcha Farris and Merrick Chambers travel to a distant kingdom where Merrick comes face to face with his past and his future. So...moreDeacons of the Order, Sorcha Farris and Merrick Chambers travel to a distant kingdom where Merrick comes face to face with his past and his future. Sorcha tries to save the world around her as she reconnects with Raed Rossin, the Young Pretender that has a geistlord living inside him. Together these heroes will not only take on the world, they take on a god.
Ms. Ballantine delivers. Again. Her writing grabs you in a way that is visceral. It hits early. It hits repetitively. It hits hard. No cheap shots are taken. None are needed. You see, Ms. Ballantine knows how to write characters that make you care. Regardless of whether Sorcha, Merrick or Raed turns out to be your favorite, you're going to find plenty to like and your favorite will live for you.
Spectyr is a thrill packed adventure full of everything that makes a good book great. As you realize you're heading in to the last fifty pages, you ask yourself how Ms. Ballantine can hope to pull this story together. Don't worry. She does.
And then leaves you wanting more. Wrayth (the next Book of the Order) can't be released soon enough.(less)
When this book hit the shelves, I was eager to have it in my hands, so I hurriedly went to my nearest retailer (sorry Amazon, immediate gratification...moreWhen this book hit the shelves, I was eager to have it in my hands, so I hurriedly went to my nearest retailer (sorry Amazon, immediate gratification needed here) and purchased two copies. (My wife loves fantasy as well, and I don’t always share nicely).
While as a child, I had been a huge fan of Jules Verne, I had never been a huge fan of steampunk before. To be truthful, it was because all of my previous encounters with steampunk had been mashups with other genres. Here at last was a true steampunk novel. Something Verne or Wells might have imagined. Well, if those luminaries were a little less stuffy that is.
You see, Phoenix Rising, is a madcap romp through Victorian England that is a perfect blend of laughs and gasps. Wellington and Eliza have been compared to The Avengers Emma Peal and John Steed. I can definitely see the resemblance. The intrepid duo spar with each other and with the villains in a perfect blend of humour and action and the books finale comes much too quickly.
The characters, beyond a shadow of a doubt, make this story need to be the first in a series. The story in itself is quite delightful and self contained. But you can simply feel the characters pushing at the bindings waiting to jump into the next novel in the set.
Wellington Books is an Archivist (please, don’t call him a librarian) for the clandestine Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. If Moulder had lived and worked in Victorian England, he would have been an agent of the Ministry. Books finds himself in a scrape at the beginning of the novel. A scrape best handled with the liberal administration of black powder and explosives. These items are willingly and ably applied by Eliza Braun. Eliza is as bombastic as Wellington is demure. Perfect foils and imminent partners.
Pheonix Rising tells the story of their teaming (although unwillingly) and their triumphant conclusion to a threat that would have ended in failure if either had attempted on their own.
For just a moment, lets return to steampunk. The reason this story made steampunk so enjoyable, was that it isn’t about steampunk. It’s about two wonderful characters that inhabit a steampunk world. The story is not about the devices, but the devices are inherent to the story. Authors, if you want to write steampunk well, here’s your primer.
Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine have cowritten a story here that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard or read by either of them. It is seamless in a way that few cowritten stories I’ve ever read are able to achieve. The story simply flows and you’re never aware that two cooks have been playing in the sauce.
Simply stated, Phoenix Rising really should be on your “must read” list. (less)