I’ve read a few books lately as part of my research for my Steampunk travel zine that I have only been luke warm about: Around the World in 80 Days, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg and The Difference Engine. So you can imagine my utter joy at finding a book that I can’t say enough good things about, and that book is Phoenix Rising.
Published in 2011 by co-authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, Phoenix Rising is the first of a series that now numbers five novels and several volumes of short stories about the mysterious Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. It chronicles a newly formed partnership between a Kiwi field agent with a taste for explosives, Eliza D. Braun, and a stiff and proper bookworm/mechanical genius, Wellington Books. Down in the archives of the Ministry, unresolved cases go to languish in the gaslight. That is, until Braun is exiled to those hallowed halls after her, er, enthusiasm (spelled d-y-n-a-m-i-t-e) gets the best of her on a mission in Antarctica to bring back the kidnapped Books. Braun’s former partner was working on something big, and now that case is simply being filed away, something Eliza cannot allow. There is a malevolent power rising in England, and their symbol, the phoenix, seems to be popping up around every turn…
This was a great, action-packed read. There is just the right mix of tension, both sexual and political, and awesome gadgets to satisfy your Steampunk needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding of the two main characters as they discovered each other, and I look forward to finding out more through their eyes in the next installment, The Janus Affair (check out the trailer below!).
“Steampunk style has become synonymous with many things as it has become more pervasive in popular culture, for good and ill: 19th-century, retrofuturism, neo-Victorian, colonialism, stuff white people like. What the steampunk community needs is a game-changer: more examples of what steampunks are really doing, and why does this subculture fit their wheelhouses. When you’re an outsider looking in, however, how can you avoid being blindsided by what has become the “tropes of the genre” (gears, goggles, pith helmets, and all)?”
Follow the link for the full article.