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!
©2011 Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
All audiobooks bring characters to life more than the written word. Apart from the seriously bad New Zealand accent of the female lead, this was well read and easy on the ear. Will someone please tell narrators that New Zealanders sound more English than the Australian accent that they are usually given?
The beginning. The first chapter. It starts off with a bang (literally) and sets the pace for nearly the whole book.
See above about listening and the accents.
None that could be named without spoiling. Several parts spooked me a bit.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I already have the second one and have requested more to be added to the Audible site.
Really enjoyable romp
When I began listening to this I seriously wandered if I had wasted my money but by chapter three I was well & truly hooked
This is my first James Langton listen but I thought his performance was excellent.
No I listened to this at work over a period of three or four days.
I bought this on a whim and I have to say I really enjoyed it, the story was strong, Eliza & Wellington were very believable characters, a well constructed tale well told, I will be listening to more of this series.
What an unusual, funny and quriky book, this book is not what I would normally choose but I found it engrossing, Eliza and Welly are 2 great characters, I loved all the inventions, it's like a victorian James Bond story, full of humour and a little bit saucy as well.
I shall definitely be purchasing the second story for more fast paced thrills and spills.
I'm currrently alternating between War & Peace and Steampunk.
Steampunk meets the X Files
Phoenix Rising is well narrated, has an engaging central duo and a well-paced story with dramatic set-pieces. Good news and probably enough to persuade me to download the next book in the series.
All of the above is nearly ruined by some rather clunky writing (over-use of the phrase "quite the", frequent Americanisms mis-use of some words e.g. "mnemonic" for "memento"). The characters range from the anachronistically modern (Eliza Braun) to crude caricatures (most of the baddies) and the occasional forays into (soft core) pornography more embarrassing than erotic.
Still, the book's good points slightly outweigh its bad points and, if you are a fan of steampunk, you'll probably enjoy this.
There is far too much in this book that is utterly anachronistic - turns of phrase and general behaviour and attitudes of the central protagonists being the main problems.
It piqued my curiosity enough to try the next in the series.
The central premise is interesting - it is basically a Victorian X-Files (but without the supernatural)
Not terrible, but there is some far better steam-punk about - Alan K Baker, Mark Hodder and Chris Wooding all spring to mind.
Imaginative story, fun characters, immersive steam punk world. Some very dark storylines, so not suitable for younger readers. Good narration and character voices bringing them to life. The narrator was good at getting the tone right to convey the sarcasm and wit of the characters. interested to see what happens to these two next.
Not really, Eliza D. Braun is not at all a likeable character, which tends to put me off a book - Not the existence of an unlikeable character (nasty, self-centred, and manipulative) but for them to be one of the main protagonists is not an encouragement to continuing with the book.
Probably not, given the likely hood of such an unlikeable protagonist cropping up again is not an encouragement to continue with the series.
It took me a little to get into this but once there I was hooked. This is a book about an unlikely duo, a young experienced agent who is a bit gung-ho and is investigating an old, cold case and the librarian.. sorry no.. the Archivist she's teamed up with as a punishment. Their complementary skills and contrasting styles and a tale filled with pace and excitement lead to a cracking good read.
Now where's book two and three?
As a final comment I'd like to include that it's definitely an adult book because of one particular scene, you might not want to share it with younger readers till you've got past that point.
It was an engaging story with an excellent narrator. I enjoyed the pace and the character builds.
Will be buying the next in series. Well worth a listen.
I found it quite hard to stay with this until about a third of the way in. I think it was worth the effort however, as the cinematic style made it easy to see the special effects you'd get in a film of the book. In tone, it reminded me of Bryan Talbot's "Grandeville" series, although sadly lacking the explanatory depth that makes his universe such a fun place to spend time in. One grating note throughout was the attempt to capture British English, making frequent use of key phrases (for example "he was quite the...") that we don't actually use over here, and never have. Some of the grammatical constructions were wrong too, and an editor with a better ear for the language would have been helpful. Finally, and I do understand what a quibble this is, "Big Ben" is not the tower. It is merely the bell inside the tower, so the object described as about the third of Big Ben's height would only have been a few feet tall. It is not a mistake an actual Londoner would have made.
"Great Steampunk - worth a listen"
I was very pleasantly surprised to listen to this book - great main characters, fast paced steampunk mystery. The narration is great, and James Langton does a very good job depicting the different characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a funny light mystery, and am about to explore Pip Ballantine's other novels.
"A fun romp if a little predictable"
Yes. It's a great beach or vacation book. It's fun, easy, and amusing.
The initial meeting between the two main characters.
Wellington Books. He's calm, academic, and yet funny.
It's a typical steampunk adventure. A fun brain break worth your time but don't expect anything insightful or surprising. Eliza (the heroine) is pulled right from any feisty romance novel. The male lead, Wellington Books, is a bit more interesting. It's brain candy.
"Enter the ministry."
What a great book! Eliza D. Braun and her partner Wellington Books are fun to listen to and entertaining to follow, you never know what’s next. The mix of mayhem and comedy make this audio book hard to turn off, so make sure you are ready to get angry at anyone who tries to disrupt you. If you've never listened to a steam punk novel I suggest that you make this one your first. I really hope that Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine will continue to write more about these two.
"Tried It, and Then Got the Whole Series"
I listened to to this to see if I was at interested in it. Wow, I was impressed. It has left me with a desire to find, and wear, a bullet proof corset. This a a nicely written series and I really liked it. Love the narration by James Langton.
"So this is steampunk..."
I'm not a qualified steampunk reader, so forgive me if I hit things with an obvious stick, but what fun! For those, like me, who are strangers to this universe: the science is wonky, steam powered and fantastical. History is not following the course that it did in our history books, so don't be alarmed by drastic departures. At times this seems like both an homage to and a parody of Victorian fantastic fiction, but with a thoroughly modern sensibility. I love that the male lead character is allowed to decide to be gentile and mannered and horrified by the behavior of the female lead character who is fierce and cunning, while at the same time fascinated by her. The role reversal seems natural and satisfying, both for the characters and for me, the reader.
I see this so often in the youngsters my son knows: gentle boys and fierce girls. Perhaps that is why this kind of literature is so popular with their generation. This world is turned on its head, but in a way perhaps it is truer than the world we live in.
A great introduction to the steampunk genre and a wonderful first book in what I hope will be a very long series. The main characters are charismatic and have an excellent chemistry. Well written and narrated. Worth the credit.
"MUCH better than expected. Not a steampunk fan but"
I'm not a fan of steam punk but this is a book that could get me interested in the genre. I'm definetly looking forward to the second book.
"Steampunk Meets Urban Fantasy"
We've seen these characters before.
We've heard this story before.
But there's something compelling about the way they are strung together.
No surprises...but a very listenable book.
"Not quite my style, but an interesting diversion"
It would depend on the type of books my friend enjoys - definitely wouldn't recommend it to my mother. Someone who reads science fiction and isn't put off by some pretty horrific scenes and characters would enjoy it.
I haven't listened to either of these authors before, and it was my first 'steampunk' read.
I liked the scene in the bar with the automated drink serving machine. I liked a lot of the machinery scenes - very imaginative and creative. I also really liked the descriptions of the archives and the associated machinery.
It is part of a series and has follow-up books, and the adventures of the two main characters will be interesting, no doubt.
This was my first venture into 'steampunk' and I am not sure that I will listen to more. I generally listen to more science fantasy style novels (dragons, druids, etc) and also spy and detective novels. I'm used to scenes with blood and guts, but this was a bit distasteful for me in the level of depravity. The Phoenix Society seemed like a nasty group, but as the book continued, I found their activities and behaviours to be a bit over the top in terms of depravity and darkness. The behaviour of the wives in the organization seemed ridiculous to me, and too far fetched to believe. So, to sum up, I enjoyed the main characters and the setting, the archives, the interactions between Books and Braun....but found the culmination of the action a little much.
The narrator was great, and although the story was a little silly it was certainly enjoyable. Action packed. It kept my attention, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
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