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
Normally, I'm not a fan of steampunk but I was pleasantly surprised by Phoenix Rising. I liked the two main characters, Eliza Braun and Wellington Books, which made a somewhat meandering story easier to take. While the plot does drag in certain place it's interesting enough to keep you listening. Much of the credit for that has to go to the narrator, James Langton. He inhabits each of the characters and gives their own voice quite nicely; however, his New Zealand accent was questionable at times. While there are some major plot holes and unsettling events that may turn off some readers/listeners, overall this a was really fun story and I look forward to more adventures from Books and Braun.
Phoenix Rising is an absolutely wonderful action/adventure tale through a England of Gentleman, Ladies, Bulletproof Corsets, Airships. And most importantly, a plot that could destroy Queen Victoria's nation and perhaps even the world. Enter Eliza D. Braun & Wellington Books, Esq., two agents for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences which from the shadows keep England safe.
Starting off with the lead characters they are so well developed and you quickly fall in love with them both for different reasons. But the great care and development runs all through the novel with a wonderful world you want to explore more of. And great characters, both good and evil, that make you not want to stop reading because you want to know what happens next. Cliche sounding perhaps but it is very true here.
And the narration by James Langton was wonderful the whole way through, a challenge I am sure with so many accents and such. But he performs just wonderful as well and very much, I think, helped to bring a soul to the world and characters like the great narrators of film and stage. Top marks to him.
If you are looking for a great action tale, please join Agents Books & Braun.
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It's the Victorian Era equivalent to the X-Files... if Mulder was a straight-laced archivist, if Scully was a female 007 with an explosives fetish, and if both of them were actually forbidden to go on the mission they were investigating. Overall, it's fairly predictable, lending to it being a quick read, but there are enough surprises and great character moments sprinkled throughout to keep you plowing through to the end. This book is simply a lot of fun. I can't wait to work through the second one.
No. It is more a book about sex than a book of science fiction. There is a good story in there it just gets lost in sex and debauchery.
Thereby Hangs a Tail
James Langton's performance is excellent.
I appreciated all the main characters, especially the main male and female ones.
The narration is lively, the characters are original, the book has humor.
Phoenix Rising oozed with steampunk goodness. From Eliza’s weapons to the archives we encountered gadgets from the simple to complex. The authors did an excellent job of describing them, and I often felt like I was right in the room with the characters and impressive machinery. Ballantine and Morris delivered an engaging plot with an ebb and flow that provided intense action scenes and moments that allowed us to glean information and understand their characters. The overall story ARC is a small thread woven into the overall tale that has me curious and eager for more. While there is no romance, we do feel a connection developing between our main characters, one that has me itching for more. The case wrapped up nicely, and I look forward to The Janus Affair the next book in the series.
James Langton was absolutely amazing as the narrator. He brought both Eliza and Wellington to life. Through him, they came to life from the gestures to pitch as he conveyed the feelings. He seamlessly delivered punch lines and the snark that made this tale so entertaining for me.
Phoenix Rising was such a brilliant listen. I laughed, felt for the characters and became swept up in the chase. I am so glad I chose to listen to the audio version and plan to continue.
If you like steampunk then you'll probably enjoy this book. It's a fun romp through all the cliches of the genre. It's got gadgets and secret societies and British manners. If you're looking for something super new, innovative or different, then you will probably be disappointed. I would have given the book a higher rating, but the heroine just rubbed me the wrong way. I'm as much a fan of the spunky heroine as the next gal, but to me Eliza crossed the line between spunky/independent to rude jerk. Frankly, I didn't like her much. Books, the hero, was really too cliche to be really interesting.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean buyer. If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
Honestly well written and totally fun -- this was my first foray into the steampunk genre, and I was not disappointed. I'm not sure that it's totally MY genre? But this was a super fun story with some great language and interesting character dynamics. I wholeheartedly recommend this story!
Thoroughly enjoyable listen! I couldn't turn it off.
A Victorian James Bond/Lara Croft type duo with character development that's just plain fun.
The story is great with enough detail to get the atmosphere of the period without dragging.
Possibly the best narration I've heard to date.
So glad I wasn't swayed by a few poor reviews written by people who apparently don't understand Steampunk. The enjoyable nature of Steampunk is that it is made up of satire, outrageous escapades and wondrous steam operated machines such as in Captain Nemo adventures. This book was enjoyable and entertaining. I found the main characters lovable and campy beyond description. Everything I love about Victorian Steampunk.I have been following Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris via Podcasting for years and I hope to see this series become a roaring success.
"Steampunk potboiler with an American accent"
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.
Very very enjoyable and pretty funny too!
Slows a little halfway through but quickly picks up again towards the end!
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