Reviewed: Phoenix Rising By Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

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Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel It's the highly anticipated, often promised, much delayed and completely unsolicited review of Pip and Tee's Phoenix Rising! Yup, I finally finished it, after a series of fits and starts that won't be named here.

Grab your brass goggles, pith helmet and Webley … the game’s afoot! From their explosive first hello until the thundering finale, Eliza D. Braun (Field Agent) and Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire (Chief Archivist) deliver a crackle and spark worthy of Powell and Loy!

I consider myself something of a steampunk purist, if there is such an animal, and this tale suits my Victorian cup of tea quite nicely. Set in a London that never was (sometime between March/April 1894 and January 1901), we have airships, a madcap coach chase through the downtown streets, a secret society bent on world domination, a series of Lovecraftian deaths and steam powered cyborgs!

I wish I'd had the time to sit down and read this all at once! It is extremely well written, with fully realized characters and engaging situations. This is no surprise as both Pip and Tee have rather impressive personal publishing pedigrees. I'm not really sure this qualifies as a freshman effort, even if it is the first book they have co-authored.

Reviewed: Maiden Flight of the Avenger by Alex White

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Journey back the universe of The Gearheart. In this prequel novella, agents Augustus Elsworth and Isabelle Carriker battle wise guys, betrayal, nefarious powers on high and each other, while attempting to unlock the secrets of Augustus’ mentor and harness the full potential of a hybrid mechano-alchemic engine before its power is unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Just so you know, I hadn’t intended for this to become the Alex White month of reviews, it just worked out that way.

We get to see Augustus in a completely different light in this story. In The Gearheart, he was much a follower. In this tale, he is a rebel; loud, cantankerous and proud, not at all the shy and retiring Elsworth we were used to. And while this tale is clearly about the mechanic, we also get to see another side of Isabelle; one where she isn’t defined by her relationship to Jonathan.

Reviewed: The Gearheart by Alex White – a free Podiobook

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I stumbled across this novel by happy accident. It was a joy to listen to. Alex has created a rich world with relatable characters and a deep back story that serves to flavor, rather than overwhelm his tale: secret organization recruits callow youth to save world. Along the way he encounters: souls trapped in immortal automatons; fractured alchemy; shape-shifters; unkillable assassins; genetic ancestor possession; mechanical magic run amok and hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional, brain-sucking arachnids. It’s a fast-paced, rollicking ride; so grab your gat & fedora, hop on the sideboards and let’s go! I highly recommend that you reserve the time to give this a listen. You won’t be sorry that you did.