For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…
Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.
But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself…
Worldbuilding: This is my first read from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and perhaps it would seem an abrupt introduction to a world so full of steampunk elements (plus some time-travel, yey! xD), but it didn’t feel abrupt at all. Keep in mind though that I’m a hardcore lover of steampunk and worldbuilding in general. That is to say, if anyone would start reading the series not with #1, it might seem like a lot to take in.
Characters: Eliza was charming. A strong lady, prone to action, efficient, passionate, with a soft spot for children (Ministry Seven were totally adorable, I’ll admit) and fiercely loyal. What’s not to love about her? Nothing, really, she’s kickass, polite, a proper lady-killer. <3 Welly was charming as well. The scientist, the scholar, kind of a geek, okay, lol, who can kick ass too - how could you not love that? You can't. I'm still very intrigued about him, and the end of this novel only made that worse, lol. So many secrets about you, Welly! You're a mystery man to the very last xD Other notable characters such as the Maestro, Sophia del Morte, the Ministry Seven, doctor Sound (so awesome a character, huzzah!), doctor Jekyll (so much love for the Jekyll & Hyde concept and how it was interpreted in this novel!) and his influence and involvement, even Queen Victoria (though presented in a very creative and I’ll admit fun for me way xD), and the other agents (Brandon & Bruce) made the journey all the more exciting.
Favorite Character: Eliza xD
Plot: Jesus, where to start? The story is rich, with quite a few layers intertwined and so many awesome elements! There’s enough action on all layers, some romance on at least one, a lot of good versus evil but never in the clean-lines simplistic interpretation. Add to that secrets, machinations, conspiracies, some treason, and high stakes – some good suspense (I’m not deeming it Mystery because we do get the POVs of the bad guys too so we know what’s going on and who’s doing it => suspense in my book) – all in all, delicious intrigue. Yep, you got the idea, loooots of goodies. Some might say too many, and I’d respect their opinion. But I love novels in which there’s a lot going on and the plot is thick. As a personal note, I think I would have enjoyed the story more if presented in the mystery vein more than suspense, ie investigating who’s doing the bad stuff without me as a reader knowing the answer. But that’s just my puzzle-solver oriented mind, lol. I like struggling to get answers more than actually having the answers 😀
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, from a few POVs – mainly Eliza and Welly’s, but also with inserts from other characters. While I loved the writing style, proper Empire-flavored language, humor, and manners, the change of POVs tends to be a personal pet peeve of mine. It didn’t under any circumstances ruin the read for me, and I loved the tangents that then came together. But I will admit I could have done without a few POVs (like those of other agents – Brandon & Bruce -, for instance, and maybe even Christopher’s) – but keep in mind I’m more of an intrigue rather than action fan, and their POVs come with a good side of action.
Curb Appeal: Awesome cover, hooking blurb, and already quite the reputation – Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer gave titles in the series awesome reviews, Braine @ Talk Supe loved #1 of the series, making me want to sink my teeth into it for sure.
All in all, I fully recommend The Diamond Conspiracy and the entire Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series for sure to lovers of rich historical steampunk worlds with one or two twists xD, of action & intrigue & suspense with a dash of romance – in short, to lovers of solid entertainment 😀