Monday, May 16, 2011

An Enjoyable Romp

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences NovelPhoenix Rising: 
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
Book #1

A very good and lively Steampunk story, if you can get past a rather rough start. It is not exactly the smoothest read throughout, but I'm glad I was able to stick it out until it grabbed me fully.

The first chapter opens up with a bit of a bang, as Field Agent - Eliza Braun breaks-out the Ministry's Archivist - Wellington Books, from his Antarctica prison.  And from there, you can't help but think this is a start of a clever and fast paced book. But as Chapter 2 opens, all energy and pace seems to bleed out, as the two become reluctant partners down in the dens of the Ministry's Archives.  Again, around the 6th chapter another marked shift in voice & writing style becomes blaringly apparent, as this briefly action filled, then a meticulously slow book, becomes a mystery-adventure story, as the two begin to unravel one of the Archive's cold cases.

The story itself is a rather fun read, between the two new partners needling each other and the cleverly crafted story & world building that starts to unfold. Word of warning, this is not a YA book (nor is it a romance).  What starts off as a mild description of events, becomes a bit more descriptive, but never quite reaches the level of raunchy. There is a fair amount of shocking violence that would not at all be suitable for children.

The relationship between Eliza & Books, is a rather interesting one, which may have played the biggest role in what kept me focused on reading further.  Quite reminiscent of the 80s hit show-Remington Steele, although Books is more like Laura than Steele. They are also quite comparable to the couple dynamic in M.K. Hobson's Witchpunk duology, but possibly due to the fact that I just finished that series.

The book is marred by a litany of inconsistent writing & pace throughout (& quite a few typos), from two freshman authors obviously still trying to find their stride. Frankly, I don't see how two people can successfully write a book of fiction with one voice & writing style. Other than IIona Andrews, I know of no other fiction writers that have successfully met that challenge. And for whatever reason, this book was written in (what I identified as) British English at the the beginning, but later seemed to have loosened up a bit.

What starts off as bumpy, due to inconsistent writing/editing, becomes a truly engaging story, that is full of promise for a continuing series. A good book, if you can hold your judgment and keep reading past the 5th Chapter. If you can stick it out, then you will be richly rewarded.

It ends with a few unanswered questions for the next book. Although, these open-ended mysteries didn't nag at me, since they aren't a big part of the first book's main plot. The same couple returns for Book #2, Cogs & Corsets, which is set to be released in May of 2012.

Warning: Strong Violence and Some Sexual Content. 18+

If you like this book, be sure to check out M.K. Hobson’s Witchpunk Duology.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

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