My rating: I’d go there again! (4/5)
Dawn’s Early Light is the third installment in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. I latched onto book one in the series as soon as I learned that one of the leads was an archivist. Seriously, how awesome is this? And while Wellington Books (the archivist, who is a “rather complicated one”) is awesome, the entire series is fantastic. It’s action packed and filled with steampunk gadgetry, alongside a dash of intrigue. But what really keeps me coming back is the dynamic between Books and Braun. Eliza Braun was a field agent until she was assigned to the dreaded archives as Wellington Book’s assistant. There is no instant friendship here and the bickering between the two is great. You know that there’s is going to be a great partnership.
With the third book, Wellington and Eliza’s relationship has taken a different turn because of the impulsive kiss Welly plants on Eliza at the end of book two. Both are left wondering what’s next for them; it’s a will-they, wont-they situation. And of course, this is complicated when Welly and Eliza find themselves in yet another intriguing mystery alongside their American counter parts.
With Dawn’s Early Light it was a lot of fun traveling to America with our daring duo. Readers are treated to quite a few cameos of famous folks from history (ie. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla) as well as a new mystery of disappearing airships. However, there was A LOT of description of the gadgets in this one, and at times I felt a little bogged down with the explanations when really, I just wanted to know what was going on between Welly and Eliza.
The progress in the relationship between Welly and Eliza was rather frustrating in Dawn’s Early Light. For the majority of the novel neither Welly or Eliza talked to the other about what had happened in book two. Since this was what I was most looking forward to, I was disappointed that this element of the plot took so long to come to a head. But when it did – well, let’s just say that I was not disappointed. Now that they have finally acknowledged feelings for one another, I can’t wait to see what the next book will bring. How will they continue to work with one another? Will their relationship interfere?
And finally, as usual we continued to have the same great dry humour moments throughout the book that makes this series so good. I especially love it when Wellington mentions anything about being an archivist. He’s got a quite sense of humour and there are several moments that had me smiling to myself. Being a librarian I think it is absolutely the coolest that we have a hero that is an archivist. He’s kind of like James Bond…in a tweed jacket.
All in all, this was a solid addition to the series even if I wish it could have moved a little quicker in the character arena. If you haven’t started this series, I highly recommend that you check out book one and have fun with this action-packed, intrigue filled books.
If you enjoyed the American setting, give Native Star a try. It’s American set steampunk, although there is more of a focus on magic, but it’s still quite good. Like The Ministry books, there’s a more even balance between the plot and the characters, but fear not, there is a romance.
For steampunk with more of an emphasis on the romance, try Kate Cross’ Touch of Steel. We have spy agencies similar to The Ministry books, but the bulk of the story focuses on the buddy romance between two competing spies.
Devon Monk’s Age of Steam books is also another good choice. The series starts with Dead Iron and gets better with each subsequent book. It’s also set in the America West with a gunslinger werewolf. Seriously, it’s so cool and I loved the steampunk elements.