The Janus Affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
With more and more unsolved cases coming in involved the friends and colleagues of the Ministry’s new assistant archivist, Agent Books and Braun return in The Janus Affair, the sophomore novel in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Victoria London is brought to life in the latest installment of Tee Morris’s and Philippa (Pip) Ballantine’s The Avengers meets Steampunk series. Romance, violence, impossible tech and tons of espionage make the novel a wonderful follow up to the opening installment, Phoenix Rising.
Tee and Pip know how to start a story right by bringing in action and mystery. Twisting against the rescue of Phoenix, Janus starts us off with a bizarre kidnapping and a dangerous unknown technology in the very face of our agents. When a reunion between Eliza’s old friends, mentor, and a former love from New Zealand brings up old memories, it also brings the ghosts of past unsolved cases screaming from the archives. It’s not long before the Eliza and Wellington are knee deep and sinking into another case bringing revealing returning rivals, new villains, and deeper cracks into the meta-plot.
Through the novel the growth in the relationship between our protagonists is reflected in the growth these characters experience in themselves. Not just our heroes’ experience growth as the lives of other agents change and close allies risk social status and their lives through the events of Janus. By the time the conclusion hits a perfect mark, you’re left with a bigger and bigger picture of the world at large of the Ministry and its twisting world.
One of the refreshing items about the new novel involves my original review of Phoenix Rising. Both novels contain a number of interludes dealing with the larger meta-plot of the series. In Phoenix, I found these heavily distracting and dangling that it impacted my view of the novel at large in a negative way. In The Janus Affair, Tee and Pip manage to perfectly weave these into the current plot while maintaining the strength of the meta-plot secreted away from the protagonist. These not only made me eager to finish up this story, but hunger for more clues of the plot in oncoming books.
I recommend this to fans of Steampunk and spy dramas who like a little tongue in cheek humor mixed with high flying action. The series is fun and the new installment continues this thread. While being a sophomore book a series, The Janus Affair is a strong enough story that new readers can dive into the series from here although that would mean missing the fantastic original story and Eliza and Wellington’s introductions. The story in Janus ties up a number of loose ends and provides enough hooks for the upcoming third book in hopefully the first trilogy set in the universe of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.