Rea's Reviews > Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine
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's review
Jul 28, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: action-adventure, historical, mystery, steampunk
Read in March, 2012

The book opens with quite the bang! As of the first chapter I knew that agents Books and Braun were going to take me on a rip-roaring adventure and they didn’t disappoint. As the book opens, Wellington Books has been kidnapped for his knowledge as he archivist at Her Majesty’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. He soon finds himself being rescued by the brash Agent Eliza Braun who, when given the choice of back up and more dynamite chose the one she could rely on – the dynamite. Little does he know that by saving him she’s actually gone against her orders, which were to take him out in order to preserve the ministry’s secrets. As punishment for her actions, she finds herself taken from active field duty and partnered with the man whose life she chose to spare, down in the ministry’s archives. It just so happens that this is the last place she ever wanted to be.

Soon, though, she discovers the masses of unsolved “dead end” cases, and one of them just so happens to be the case her previous partner was working on before he was admitted to Bedlam. Of course, like a hound that’s caught a scent, she’s determined to get to the bottom of this even if it means dragging her new partner along for the ride.

There’s a scene where Eliza visits her former partner in Bedlam that is particularly poignant. My heart broke a little bit for her, for opportunities lost, and the pain of seeing someone she cared for deeply reduced to such a state.

The first hundred pages or so are for the most part a case of setting the scene and introducing the reader to the machinations of the world. After that things pick up speed as they bounce from action-filled scene to action-filled scene. There’s nary a dull moment, even when things are going slow, with so much information – either about the characters or the plot – is being imported that it’s imperative that the reader pay attention.

In recent times, steampunk has gone from being a fairly low-key part of the fantasy market to one where there is now an abundance of books coming out of the woodwork. I’ve been a fan of steampunk for over a decade now, and while not all steampunk is worth the money spent on it, this one certainly is with a well-crafted universe where those steam-powered innovations are treated as the norm rather than too much time being spent on examining each and every little detail.

Written in a light, humorous tone, I encountered a few laugh out loud moments while reading Phoenix Rising. Now to carve out the time to get around to read book 2!

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Reading Progress

03/15/2012 page 296
03/17/2012 page 402
100.0% "Woo! Fun! :) Review to come."

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