Most helpful positive review
A jolly amusing romp!
on 2 February 2014
I must admit this book is the first in the MPO series proper I have read: I came to this alternate universe through looking for Steampunk tales set in India and so my first introduction to the Ministry was through finding short story 'The Shadows of Calcutta' about a year and a half ago. (This was by a guest writer and very enjoyable.)
Having read the book out of sequence and still enjoyed it is a very good indicator, as I was able to dive straight in without the need to have read the previous adventures. They are alluded to in such a way that it's very easy to slide into the world presented and you get to know the characters and their backgrounds very quickly.
The characters are lively, the story thunders along at a heady pace (this particular tale being about mysterious events surrounding suffragettes made it extra engaging to me personally).
When things go BOOM, which they do almost immediately, they do so in a deeply satisfying manner!
And the use of devices is great, it is one of the strengths of the story.
The only addendum I have is that sometimes the Britishness of both setting and characters can be a little stilted. But then, I am an incorrigible snob living in Great Britain. Considering this writer duo is not from the UK, they have done a thorough job lifting what made prim and proper Victorians sometimes unintentionally hilarious and ran with it. If you are looking for a perfect escapist steampunk novel with all the classic ingredients, with brave, arch and quippy characters who commit daring deeds, this is the book for you!
I now look forward to reading the rest of the series at some point. Preferably in the right order...