The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents.
Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance… with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.
The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books... and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.
The Janus Affair is the second book in the A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series written by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris. The book was released in the summer of this year and follows up on the events of Phoenix Rising. After my introduction in Phoenix Rising, which was pretty cool, this was definitely a series for me to watch. The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is a steampunk series that features two quite opposite special agents turned archivists, Eliza D Braun and Wellington Thornhill Books. But both do not quite agree with the lengthy job down in the archives... And with Eliza’s explosive nature her and Wellington find themselves in for something bigger…
One plus that I mentioned in my review of Phoenix Rising was the introduction to the chapters by giving catchy names to them, conjuring a certain image in my mind of what was in store for me. This time it starts off with “Wherein the perils of train travel are made plain”. Well, I hope I am not encountering that soon though! Anyway I again found these lively titles a great addition to the story.
After the dashing start with Eliza saving Wellington from the House of Usher in Phoenix Rising and where both of our Archivists rounded-up the Phoenix society and got away with their careful spinning of the tale of what actually happened to the director of the Ministry Dr. Sounds. Now in The Janus Affair the story starts off with a new peculiar occurrence, a unexplainable disappearance by a bolt of lightning. With a link of the person who disappeared, both Eliza and Wellington, again go against the grain in order to get to the bottom of this case.
In the Janus Affair you again see the story told with Eliza and Wellington in the lead. I really like the characters and the personalities that were introduced in Phoenix Rising. On one hand you have the highly explosive Eliza and on the other the more reserved librarian Wellington. These personalities are again kept in top shape and showing some nice stereotypical behaviour that worked great in the setting of the book. There was also great interaction between Eliza and Wellington, where in the end it felt that Eliza was losing some of the wild hairs and Wellington becoming more bold and brash. Looking back at The Janus Affair, the storyline is more divided between them and with the introduction of a fellow New Zealander, Eliza, trying to find out what to do with herself. So in the beginning of the book there was a less notable follow-up of what occurred between Eliza and Wellington in Phoenix Rising. Continuing in the book this was all made to rights and reflected nicely a less forced but more passionate view of Eliza towards Wellington and vice versa. In this Wellington's character really shines, and he is one of my favourite characters in the series. Wellington is stiffly British, with his rigid comments and his actions, is showing jealousy, and even goes pretty far to get away with his frustrations in a rugby game. These events painted Wellington with a darker shade and added a great amount of info to his character. Added to this was a fact that I mentioned about Wellington's past, mainly about his relation with his father and how he was influenced by this, to my pleasure this was also followed up neatly and integrated nicely into the storyline while dialoguing with Eliza. For me it felt that Wellington really was the star of the show in The Janus Affair, this did not take away the ever present Eliza though, but I hope to see more of how her character develops in the coming books, so far she has been entertaining with her explosive nature but I hope to see more.
As you followed the nefarious Phoenix Society in Phoenix Rising there is no direct link to a new organization planning to take over the world. I was left in the dark about who was behind the disappearances, right until the end. But before coming to that, there are a few references in several interludes where you do see a villainous party that is out for something, led by an assassin of who I got to know in Phoenix Rising and a reference to a mysterious person who as I perceived it has something planned out, Maestro. In the interludes that feature Sophia and the Maestro there was a nice revealing that they were not - that is directly - behind the disappearances but that they are also out for the machine. There was a great effort put into weaving the culprits into the storyline who were behind the disappearances, showing that they were out for their own gain in plotting something larger than just porting.
Similarly to Phoenix Rising, the steampunk element is not to be missed, from lococycles to automatons, ornithopters and cyborgs with firearms hidden in prosthetics. I did feel the shift from focusing on the character more towards the vivid world in which the story took place, this might have been due to the build-up of the characters in the first book which allowed both authors to explore the world more to its rights. The ending is again a bit closed, all well ends well ending but Dr. Sounds does have a new task which I hope will prove again a jolly ride for our daring heroes. The Janus Affair is truly a most shocking and electrifying ride through Victorian London.
This The Janus Affair book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1
With Phoenix Rising, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris have created a great addition to the growing steampunk genre and have given a new take on fighting crime. For me, th...
The Janus Affair
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2
Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents. Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza...
Have you read The Janus Affair?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Janus Affair reader reviews
8.9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Mortal Engines Quartet
Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands - a new and terrifying kin...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Kevin J Anderson
The young Verne and his best friend Andre Nemo stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrac...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Art and his family are invited on a fantastic free holiday to the exotic Asteroid Belt, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that ...
Grandville Mon Amour
The beefy badger DI Archie LeBrock is languishing in self-pity, driven to drink (as every good copper should be) by the guilt of Sarah’s murder. When his partner, Rod...
The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide
Bringing together an action-filled story full of automatons, airships and a dastardly plot to take over the world and instructions on how to make your own gadgets, The Stea...
A Tale of Langdon St. Ives
James P Blaylock
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives – brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer – is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a f...
The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that...
The Falling Machine
Andrew P Mayer
In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime… But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a h...
A Wild West Tale
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advanc...
Tales of the Ketty Jay
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the ...
As the serialisation beings we meet 12-year-old schoolboy Alex who, just before Christmas, receives an old toy robot from his globe-trotting grandfather. It doesn't see...
It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New ...
The Infernal Devices
Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still. When sixteen-...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...