Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (2011)
Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Eliza D. Braun and Wellington Books are agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences who met when Braun rescued Books from Antarctica after he’d been kidnapped for the knowledge he has as Archivist for the Ministry.
I have to say I’m not quite sure what it is about the British and Peculiar, but I prefer the Peculiar Crimes Unit to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Despite the fact the later has steampunk.
First, the cover is not particularly reminiscent of the story, in that there aren’t many goggles, and I can think of no instances where Braun was dressed like that, and certainly none where she was posed like that. I’m not even sure I can figure any reason for her to be dressed in that manner, except, of course, to interest boys in the book.
As for the story, it was ok.
Steampunk combined with pulp mystery. Pretty much a winning combination, except for the couple of places where it went off the rails completely. I could very much have done without the scene after the first dinner at mansion. Yuck. Which was the heart of the problem. The story changes from a pulp romp to some overly vivid descriptions of violence and sexual domination that were–well, I think they were unnecessary, and they put both Braun and Books in a bad light for doing nothing to stop those events. (I can almost accept them standing by as cold blooded murder occurs, but the icky pedophilia? No. Sorry.)
And of course in the finest pulp fashion, the story ends with unsolved mysteries leading to the next book.