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
Yes! The story alone is wonderful, lots of fun, with good scene setting and amusing quips. If I had read a textual copy of this story, I would have enjoyed it. But listening to Langton tell the story makes the experience sublime. His voice is perfect for the combination of amusing melodrama and various flavors of Victorian characters. From the oh-so-proper British upper class Books to the rough-around-the-edges New Zealander Braun to the London street urchins, Langton really brings out the colorful characters of Phoenix Rising.
The narrator's voices & pacing.
My first one, but not my last. I've also listened to the sequel, The Janus Affair, and enjoyed it just as much.
Because this is the first book in the series, there are a few places where the exposition drags a bit, but it is sort of necessary to set the stage, given this universe is quite different from real life and also from "normal" sci-fi.
Currently a local truck driver who has hours to listen to my audio books. I am hooked, some of my fellow drivers enjoy them also
A good story line alittle slow at first but well written no once was enough but I do look forward to one more to see where everyone ends up
I like both the main characters equally
He was a pro and did a great job he nailed the moods of each character
The end at the grave yard for the fallen agent
A serious look into Queen Vics times, we don't realize just how far we have come toward
equality of all peoples
Taking the road less traveled
real page turner
attention to world building detail
this is the first but really enjoyed the performance
has all the goodness of action/adventure and the cherry on top....steampunk 8-)
I'm an avid reader but when driving or exercising, listening to a great book and a great performance makes time fly!
Fun steam punk.
Mr. Langton's performance of Wellington Books is spot on; he perfectly embodies Books.
Light and fun, this is a good brain-candy kind of book.
My first steampunk, but it more than met my expectations for the genre. Lightweight, of course, but consistently fun. Narration by James Langton was a wonder, as it skipped about the British Empire from Welsh to Australian to public school English. One critical reviewer is probably right in that Langton's Kiwi accent seems off, but the amazing melodramatic default-narrator voice more than makes up for it. In fact, its the narration that makes this book -- that and the snide references to 19th century British pop culture. I suspect I only "got" about half of those, but they do add to the fun. The plot? Uh ... why, yes, I suppose it does have a plot. But it doesn't really get in the way of the other stuff, and it does move along in a sprightly sort of way, with appropriate quantities of flash bang -- like the deadly battle of assassins fought out on stage, with prop weapons, during a performance of the finale of Verdi's Macbeth. Definitely worth the price of admission.
No, for me there was nothing I could find to enjoy. Might work for a younger reader.
Not for me
This was the first steampunk genre I have listened to or read, it has made me a fan leading me to download the second in this series before I had even finished the first. The characters are entertaining and well developed and the narration was perfect for the personalities of agents Books and Braun. My favorite part was the steampunk inventions, it was a great intro for a first timer into the steampunk genre,
Agents Books and Braun are together my favorite characters, their chemistry and odd couple bickering make the pair fun to listen to and drew me into the story even more.
Langton made the personality of the characters shine and helped make agent books that much more charming.
When I first started listening, I thought I wouldn't get through. The book begins with a high-action sequence that the narrator reads as slowly as a bunny book for two-year-olds. Fortunately, narrator, characters, and action improve. All triteness of plot becomes forgivable in the enjoyment of the slowly building partnership between the two main characters. Their quips, characters and interactions begin working together like an efficient steampunk machine--or better, since this machine doesn't fall apart.
This was my first 'read' of a steampunk book, although I've been aware of the genre for a while. Phoenix rising grabbed me early and never got boring. The writing is excellent, and the mix of steam-driven computers, Babbage-inspired mechanical gizmos and Victorian era mystery is convincing. James Langton does a good job voice acting the characters, and nearly got me to listen to the whole thing non-stop, to the dismay of my wife. I'd recommend this novel to mystery and fantasy alike.
This story was original.
This was an overall nice read. But I am still not sure why we needed the orgy episode?
"Brilliant action steampunk adventure"
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.
"Rip Roaring Adventure"
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.
"Great story; shame about the writing"
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.
"A bit slow moving"
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.
"A corker of a read!"
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.
"Enjoyable steampunk story."
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.
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.
Very very enjoyable and pretty funny too!
Slows a little halfway through but quickly picks up again towards the end!
"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.
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