The Ghost Rebellion: Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Book 5 by Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris

I’m at a loss as to what I can actually review about this book, given that it’s book 5 in the series, and given that nearly anything about the setup is a spoiler for previous books.  Secrets were revealed in previous books, but there’s more to learn this time, and some of it goes all the way back to the opening chapter of book one.

In keeping with previous installments of the series, this is a light, fun read for those who like their steampunk full of snark and explosions.  Unlike most steampunk, there is plenty of meat on the bones in terms of both character and plot, meaning that this isn’t just a steampunk veneer that’s all about gears and other seemingly mandatory props.  That’s part of why this series maintains its status with me as one of the best steampunk series on the market.  There’s actual story to be had, with characters that matter.  Currently, only Jim Butcher has done it better to my mind.

Historical accuracy is duly out the window, but that’s a typical hallmark of steampunk, so it’s not really that bothersome to me, and it’s so subtle that you’d have to really know the Victorian and Edwardian eras to spot it.  Besides, if you’re reading for historical accuracy, you’ve missed the point with a series that uses Atlantean weaponry and inter-dimensional teleporters.

I have come to learn that there is only one more book in this series, and the way this one plays out, it feels like things are played out to that end.  The good news is I shouldn’t have to wait but maybe a year or so for the final one.  The better news is that there’s plenty of room in this world for short stories and side missions, some of which the authors have already produced, so there’s some franchise building without watering it all down.  All in all, Ballantine and Morris have built a fun series that largely elevates the genre.

4 stars

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