Fast, entertaining, gripping, and humorous. Phoenix Rising features a dynamic duo with great chemistry and a lot of enjoyable banter. Great world-building and characterisation. Also: depiction of sexual debauchery including the drugging of unwilling participants and hunting humans. There’s some discussion of the feeling of superiority and subsequent entitlement. We get books, and gadgets, and seriously villainous villains, and kick-ass heroes.
Gender roles are tweaked in this steam-punk Victorian setting, but not completely reversed, fortunately. What I mean is that Wellington Books is no mere bookish and squeamish Daisy. He has his reasons for acting the way he does and I hope to see more exploration of his past and the ancestral baggage he so obviously carries in later instalments. Eliza is daring, loud-mouthed, reckless even. Wellington and Eliza start of as an unlikely duo and neither of them is thrilled at being partnered with the other, but a crime to solve and a common enemy to focus on turn them into a force to reckon with. Bold and Clever move, Doctor Sound!
The evil elitist brotherhood is not the most imaginary of adversaries, but it’s interesting to see how they are played as well.
Oh, that the novel is set in London (a steampunky one, no less) certainly added to my enjoyment, but I didn’t really concentrate too much on the setting as the characters were far too entertaining not to give them my full attention.
The ending felt a bit rushed, but that’s probably to be expected in a fast-paced, action-packed finale. I fear that I missed quite a few alluded revelations, but this will be remedied with the next reading.