Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine have created an absolute gem of a novel and a spectacular opener for a series in the tremendously long titled, "Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel." The lovely cover art is by Dominick Finelle.
Reading this book was the most fun I've had with a novel in a very long time. The characters are great, the story clever, and the dialog witty, biting, and clever without being precious.
In a nutshell, Phoenix Rising is a murder mystery nougut wrapped in a spectacular Steampunk, Steed and Peel, Wild, Wild, West, X-Files candy shell. It is delicious.
In Phoenix Rising, our Steed and Peel are Wellington Books and Eliza Braun, agents in the Queens Ministry of Peculiar Occurences. Books is a Ministry agent that has spent his career in the basement archives, cataloging and preserving the case history of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (MPO). He is shy and bookish, a British gentleman that embodies the opposite of brash. Braun is a human hand grenade - oft referred to as a 'pepper pot' - that hails from the colonies (New Zealand) and prefers bombs to stealth.
The names are obvious (Books and Braun) but fit the cheeky tone and fun nature of the story.
The novel starts with a bang as Braun rescues Books and then, due to extenuating circumstances of that rescue, is assigned to the archives to assist Books in his duties. This doesn't sit well with Braun and she, of course, coerces Books into an astounding adventure.
What I loved about this novel is how much heart the story has in addition to the thrills and humor. The action and adventure was made even more thrilling due to the readers attachment to the characters.
I will give Phoenix Rising a 9 out of 10 and I am looking forward to other stories in this series. I will give this book a Mature rating due to some Adult content of a sexual nature and some gore.
I read the Kindle eBook for this review.
The Ministry series continues with the follow-up novel "The Janus Affair" and a series of short story ebooks grouped under the "A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Tale from the Archives." These are written by a variety of authors and are available for 99 cents.