The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee MorrisThe Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
Narrator: James Langton
Series: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2
Published by HarperAudio on May 29, 2012
Genres: Steampunk
Length: 14 hrs 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Hang onto your bowler hats, agents Books and Braun of Britain’s top-secret Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences are back in The Janus Affair. In their second wildly imaginative, utterly fantastic steampunk adventure, authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris carry readers back to an alternate history Edwardian England, where suffragettes are inexplicably disappearing in flashes of lightning, and the brainy, intrepid Mr. Books and his partner, the fearless, lovely, weapons-loving Eliza Braun, must get to the bottom of the nefarious matter—while confronting high-flying assassins, a traitorous turncoat, and the Queen of the Underworld herself.

First off, The Janus Affair overall was better than the first in the series for me. I liked the suffragette connection and I thought the gadgets and machines were cooler this time around. It’s a funner book. Braun and Books are a great team. I enjoy their interactions. They are both witty and have wonderful comebacks and one-liners. They make me smile. There’s some sexual tension, but the romance touches don’t overpower the story. However, the introduction of Eliza’s old flame leads to one of my quibbles. While his presence pushed Books to look a little more at his feelings for Eliza, I could have done without him.

I almost quit partway through. There were two male secondary characters, one being Eliza’s old friend and the other a fellow Ministry worker, who I just didn’t enjoy. They were jerks, and not integral enough to the story to make up for the amount of time spent on them. I really just strongly disliked them and would have preferred them cut out of the story altogether. I was hoping one would turn out to be the main bad guy, but no, we’re dealing with girl power this time around, on both sides. (Hope that wasn’t a spoiler.)

We learn more about Books background, which is interesting, although his tendency to hear his father’s voice is obnoxious. That’s the problem I think with this book. I really enjoy parts of it, and then other parts just irritate me. There’s just enough to make me keep listening to them— free from the library, but not enough to make my buy them. On the other hand if they keep improving, it could become a great series.

It looks like there are four novels in the series, with a fifth scheduled for this year, and several short story anthologies. Has anyone else read them? Do they keep improving? Are the anthologies worth reading?

About Pip Ballantine

Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa is a writer and podcaster of fantasy fiction. Immersed in books from an early age, she moved onto to become a librarian. She’d been dreaming of being a writer since a teenager, but in the last ten years she’s devoted herself to it. Philippa currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband and co-writer Tee Morris, their daughter and a clowder of cats who keep them all in line.

About Tee Morris

Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies and its follow-up, Expert Podcasting Practices for Dummies.

In 2011, Tee returned to his first love—fiction—with the steampunk Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels, co-authored with Philippa Ballantine.

When he is not writing, Tee enjoys life in Virginia alongside Philippa Ballantine, his daughter, and their cats.


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