The Janus Affair – Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris



Hang onto your bowler hats, agents Books and Braun of Britain’s top-secret Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences are back in The Janus Affair. In their second wildly imaginative, utterly fantastic steampunk adventure, authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris carry readers back to an alternate history Edwardian England, where suffragettes are inexplicably disappearing in flashes of lightning, and the brainy, intrepid Mr. Books and his partner, the fearless, lovely, weapons-loving Eliza Braun, must get to the bottom of the nefarious matter—while confronting high-flying assassins, a traitorous turncoat, and the Queen of the Underworld herself. The Janus Affair is the British TV classic, The Avengers, updated for the 21st Century and given a delectable steampunk twist—an Affair that will satisfy fantasy lovers, graphic novel aficionados, and dedicated fans of the novels of Gail Carriger.

My Thoughts

Once again, our favourite pair of ragtag teammates find themselves in the middle of quite the predicament. Books and Braun are on the case, whether anyone wants them to be or not.

The Janus Affair takes a current social issue, and writes it in historical context. Where we have feminism taking a stand against deep-seeded misogyny in modern times, it all started with the suffragist movements – the first wave of feminism. It’s very interesting to see feminism presented in such a way, as the issues the suffragists faced in the 19th century seem so absurd now. However, not enough has changed between then and now. It’s very interesting to see how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go.

Many of the same elements from our first Ministry adventure are present in this adventure as well. Agent Campbell is up to no good; the Duke of Sussex is still quite keen on the destruction of the Ministry, and; we have a villain waiting in the shadow, watching, biding their time, and no one knows when they’re going to strike. And, of course, our favourite Italian assassin is present and accounted for.

This case, however, is quite near and dear to Eliza’s heart, as it involves an old friend from her homeland of New Zealand. This also leads to her running into an old acquaintance – Douglas Sheppard. Right away, he rubbed me the wrong way. There was just always something off about him. To put it bluntly, he was quite the chauvinistic git. Which is quite contrary, as his mother is the head of the suffragist movement in New Zealand. His character did nothing more than make me cringe and roll my eyes whenever he popped up. Which, I suppose, was his purpose. He was necessary to make Eliza realize something about one particular Archivist.

Her feelings are most definitely reciprocated by said Archivist. Watching their relationship grow and develop and change is a pure joy – and I am so glad it’s happening so soon. To me, there is nothing more boring that an agonizing “will they, won’t they” over the course of an ongoing series. There are also very few secrets, which is very nice. Everything is out in the open. I am quite thankful the whole secrecy between partners thing is one trope this series is trying to go without.

The Janus Affair did very little in terms of identifying The Big Bad that our favourite colonial pepperpot and Archivist are sure to face. But, it did offer a great deal of character development and more world-building. I am most excited for the next adventure!


~ by Aubrey Smith on September 24, 2016.

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