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Dawn's Early Light (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences) Mass Market Paperback – March 25, 2014
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Praise for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels
“A good bet for steampunk fans.”—Library Journal
“Full of action, explosions and deceit.”—Seattle Geekly
“Extensive worldbuilding, multi-faceted characters, fast-paced action, and an engaging plot all make for a thrilling, absorbing read.”—RT Book Reviews
“Cute and charming, interspersed with sequences of dire peril and explosive action...You don’t want to miss a delicious moment of the story.”—Kings River Life
“[A] thrilling and labyrinth detective romp laced with humor, feminine moxie, and mayhem. The prose is Dickens on steroids, yet it somehow grips the reader...A dark and twisted roller coaster of a read for those fond of elegant vernacular and bizarre weaponry.”—Fangoria
“Anyone who was a fan of the adventure in the Blades of the Rose series and the dynamic in the Sherlock Holmes movie might want to check this series out.”—Fiction Vixen Book Reviews
“This is steampunk done right, down to every last detail...Action-packed with edge-of-your-seat excitement.”—Badass Book Reviews
“[A] rollicking adventure series of the finest order.”—The Ranting Dragon
About the Author
Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Book of the Order series, the Shifted World series, the Chronicles of Art series, and—with Tee Morris—the coauthor of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Her podcast of Chasing the Bard won the Sir Julius Vogel Award in 2009, and two of her novels have been short-listed for it. Originally from New Zealand, she now resides in Virginia with her husband, her daughter, and a mighty clowder of cats.
Tee Morris is the author of Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana and the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. In addition to his work as a fantasist, he is also a social media pioneer and the author of Podcasting for Dummies and All a Twitter.
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I want to know what happens next, but the number of times that editing issues interrupted the flow of my reading and popped me out of being engrossed in the story make me uncertain about paying full paperback price for something that hasn't benefited from a publishers attention.
Good steampunk fiction always includes an assortment of gadgets and gismos and this novel delivers machines in droves. There is also the continuing romantic tension between the two agents and an appearance by the Maestro and his female assassin from earlier novels in the series.
As a historian, I'm not a fan of using historical figures in fictional narratives, but Ballantine and Morris pull it off in this book about as well as it can be done. I also found some of the action sequences went on too long and became a little cartoonish. But even then, I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a fun, steampunk romp.
Things I liked - The action was solid. The number of fist and gun fights keep things moving along and are handled very well. The characters are well developed enough. We have, of course, gotten to see Books and Braun grow as characters. None of the secondary characters outshine them. The romantic tension is well handled. That's not ordinarily my cup of tea. Too much "will they, won't they" can ruin a good story. Here that's not an issue. The alt history aspects of this were also very interesting and added a lot to the story.
Things I didn't like - Once things got to San Francisco, roughly the last third of the book, it lost a little bit of, you should forgive the expression, steam. There are some dramatic reveals and reversals that didn't work for me. They also include a hook into the next book that I don't feel really added a lot to the story. These are very minor issues and cost this book at most a half a star.
Overall, if you enjoy steampunk or alt history I'd give this a shot. If you enjoyed the first two books you will totally like this one. This review would be four and a half stars, but Amazon only lets me get away with whole numbers.
While the writing/editing was occasionally a bit sloppy (I mean, a “chez lounge”? for pity’s sake!), the action is non-stop. With gadgets 007’s ‘Q’ would drool over, a pair of American agents almost a mirror image of Books and Braun, and a plot so unlikely that it could only be tongue in cheek, the book is a fun read, and a worthy continuation of the Ministry saga.