Sarah's Reviews > Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine
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's review
May 29, 2012

liked it
Read in May, 2012

I definitely liked this book more than I didn't, but I suppose that really isn't helpful for anyone else.
When we are first introduced to Agents Books and Braun, it is 'in media res', in the middle of some Antarctic hijinks involving secret societies and a great deal of dynamite. And you know, when I pick up a steampunk/gaslight book, especially one that has the cover art like this one, I expect hijinks and daring-do. Yay. Wish granted.

However, I found that at about the three-quarters mark, I was losing interest. Our dynamic duo is tracking down yet another secret society, they are attempting to infiltrate their ranks, and I was just wanting the book to be over. It didn't help that, up to that point, the story was moving along briskly. Each chapter, more or less, covered a day or so and new bits of backstory and character was revealed. But once the 'infiltration' part starts, it seems like all of that grinds to a halt to make room for action...which only really materializes in the very last portion of that plot section. The rest of the 'infiltration' story is pretty much "the bad guys sit around being hedonistic jerks, being cruel to women and the poor, steepling their fingers and crowing about how evil they are mwa ha ha..."
I understand that cartoonish books like this have to have some kind of cartoonish villain, otherwise the story is uneven, but even I - with my appreciation for the outlandish and occasionally silly - found it hard to be threatened by this villian/society. I never felt like they were ever really going to DO anything.

At any rate, this is a fun read, and I've certainly found worse ways to spend my time. If you're looking for madcap adventure, saucy heroines and unflappable heroes, you'll probably like this book, especially if you have a softspot for steampunk.
Based on my personal experience, if this is your first foray into the subgenre, I would start elsewhere.

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