The power of review

Everyone here at the Ministry, all agents, archivists and even the Director, undergo reviews. It helps someone know how they are doing.

The same is true of our authors. We are starting to get reports on Phoenix Rising. Below are a sample of reviews we have had so far. If you have read the first book of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences then please let Miss Ballantine know pip at pjballantine dot com and/or post them on your blog or on such aethernet residences at or

We very much appreciate you taking the time to do so. With the release date only days away we are all terribly excited- as you can imagine…


Eliza is a dashing heroine, reminiscent of the wonderful Emma Peel, from the 1960s TV show The Avengers. Both are intelligent, highly-skilled, and extremely well-dressed feminists who aren’t above exploiting their own sexual charms to attain the upper hand. While her relationship with Wellington replicates the same witty repartee and sense of sexual innuendo as that of Peel and Steed, Wellington is a far more bookish and charmingly awkward hero than John Steed ever was….Sophia del Morte is a femme-fatale of James Bond quality, while Doctor Devereux Havelock would be equally at home in any of the more far-fetched entries in that cinematic saga. The rivalry between Eliza and Sophia comprises the bulk of the novel‘s action, with gloriously choreographed fight scenes that see as many clothes shed as they do weapons introduced. Wellington and Havelock, on the other hand, are more intellectual adversaries, each with a deep and abiding respect for the other’s inventiveness and creativity. That’s not to say there’s anything lacking in their final confrontation, just that it’s all the more satisfying for the build-up.

Bibrary Bookslut

This is a great romp through a Victorian England that’s just off enough to be intriguing, and I found Books and Braun rapidly growing on me. The pace is lively, and the authors keep the reader guessing…Recommended for a good, light-hearted, adventurous romp.

-Lis Carey’s Library

A one word review — wow. Another word — exquisite. I simply am thankful at this point that the wise people at HarperCollins have bought this as a series, because after one book all I can think of is “When is the next one coming out??!”…Steampunk is a fascinating genre, and Ballantine and Morris have captured it perfectly. I think this series could serve as a great introduction to the genre, in fact, since you really don’t have to have much of an understanding of steampunk to enjoy the book. There also seems to be an element or two of the pulp genre, though much of that is actually turned on it’s head.

-Pew Reviews

The book starts on a high action note, and doesn’t really slow down all that much throughout. There are places with a more sedate pace, but those are generally setting up more action or important plot points. The setting is a Victorian England with plenty of fun steam-powered gadgets, nicely but not off-puttingly described, to keep the reader entertained. Besides the main pair of agents, we also get some nicely fleshed out side characters, which always makes for a better read. The Ministry itself has endless plot potential, with the Archives being a focal point for artifacts and mysteries. And the book conveys a strong sense of both history, of the world and our characters, and future, as there are unresolved plot points clearly pointing to a sequel or sequels. At the same time, the main story within the book is self-contained and complete.
I’d recommend this to fans of action, anyone into Steampunk as a genre, and readers looking for a strong female character.

Real Tegan

One Reply to “The power of review”

  1. Well these reviews are renewing my faith in reviewers … or at least remind me that there are some good ones out there. 🙂

    So how long before my pre-order ships now? …. 😉
    *Waiting patiently before I get the chance to power through “Phoenix Rising”.* 🙂

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