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Philippa (Pip) Ballantine

Philippa Ballantine(1971- )
Philippa (“Pip”) Ballantine was born in Wellington, New Zealand, studied English Literature and Politics at Victoria University, and found herself working in the magical world of libraries. She still lives in Wellington, and is kept company by two Siberian cats, Sebastian and Viola. Here’s Philippa Ballantine’s website.

Geist: So much to appreciate!

Geist by Philippa Ballantine

Sometimes you read a book and enjoy it while reading, only to find it falls apart when you think about it later. The inverse happened to me with Philippa Ballantine’s Geist. I enjoyed it, and then the more I thought about it, the more I found to appreciate.

Geist is a secondary-world fantasy, set on the continent of Arkaym. The residents of Arkaym fear the geists, powerful otherworldly spirits that can enter the physical realm and possess people. Standing between the populace and the geists is the Order, which can best be described as a (mixed-gender, non-celibate) organization of warrior monks. The members of the Order are classified by their skill set: Actives have the power to blast geists with offensive magic, but are dependent upon Sensitives to discern the spirit’s presence and strength. Actives and Sensitives work together ... Read More

Phoenix Rising: Lots of rivets, studs and leather

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are agents in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, taking on the uncanny in the name of Queen and country. Agent Books is a straitlaced archivist — don’t call him a librarian — who enjoys mechanical tinkering and his peaceful job among the Ministry’s old files. Agent Braun is an outspoken New Zealand transplant who loves to blow things up. At the beginning of Phoenix Rising, the two agents land themselves in the doghouse with the Ministry and are assigned to work together. The unlikely partners then discover a new lead in a cold case that left Braun’s former partner institutionalized in Bedlam. An evil secret society is on the rise, and only Books and Braun can thwart their dastardly plans.

Phoenix Rising is one of those steampunk novels that’s not too serious. Pip Bal... Read More

The Janus Affair: The Ministry’s steampunk adventures continue

The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

The Janus Affair, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, is the second in these writers’ steampunk adventure series. Wellington Books, Chief Archivist, and Eliza Braun, former field agent turned junior archivist, work for Queen Victoria’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Books is an aristocrat, a son of England, while Braun is a “colonial pepperpot” from New Zealand. Something happened in New Zealand that makes it impossible for Braun to return home. In The Janus Affair, we meet two people from Braun’s past that shed some light on those events.

After a woman disappears on a train, right before the eyes of Eliza and Wellington, Eliza is approached by New Zealand suffragist Kate Sheppard, who had come to England to pursue the vote for women (in New Zealand they already have it). Kate has a clo... Read More

Other novels by Philippa Ballantine

Shifted World — (2012- ) Publisher: In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plainsand then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power. However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it. She must also deal with the machinations of Kelanim, the mistress of Caisah, who out of fear will do anything to bring Talyn down. Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength. Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret. He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn. He knows the danger and yet is drawn to her. Their fates are bound together. Meanwhile, the Hunter’s lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli. He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn. The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne.

fantasy book reviews Philippa Ballantine Hunter and Fox Shifted Worldfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


Stand-alones:

Philippa Ballantine Chasing the Bard, Digital MagicChasing the Bard — (2005) Publisher: Born into the human world with a gift; a gift that brings him to the attention of powers both dark and light from the World of the Fey, it is his burden to defend all the world. Sive, the goddess of battle, hopes that he may be able to change the fate of her people. The Fey are dying, killed by something beyond the boundaries of worlds, and Sive will do anything to save them. So she enlists the help of her trickster cousin Puck to guard the child, and watch him grow into his gift. But a dark power imprisoned by human and Fey, plots to destroy both worlds, and unmake all that they have created. Can one boy stop the destruction, even if he is William Shakespeare?


Philippa Ballantine Chasing the Bard, Digital MagicDigital Magic — (2008) Publisher: The Fey are gone… and with them, magic. At least, that is how things seem at the conclusion of the award-nominated novel Chasing the Bard. — Lord what fools these mortals be. — Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change — from the local librarian to the lady of the manor — revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Thorns of Life — (2012) Publisher: A short story of clones, rebellion and poets. A company decides to clone the first famous figures from the past, and they settle on the trio of Romantic Poets, Shelley, Byron and Keats. After all, how much trouble can a few poets cause? But the insipid Victorian view of the men has led the corporation astray, and they may live to regret their choice.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMagic by Gaslight — (2012) Publisher: A novella of steampunk and magic, from one of the minds behind the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Lucinda is a witch in a alternative Victorian London, where being a witch is a death sentence. Her coven harness sensuality and passion to make magic, and that is a crime according to the Association of Magicians. Women with control of sex and magic are too dangerous to tolerate. So Lucinda and her coven live in secret. That is until she meets a young American magician, and their attraction cannot be denied, but they have always been taught such a thing can never be. Rules however do not apply to the young and powerful. Lucinda and Theo find out just how far they are prepared to go.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCradle of Love and Fire — (2013) Publisher: A short story legend from the writer of Geist, Kindred and Wings, and the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. The arrival of man to their sacred homes bring challenges to the elves. Most retreat further and further into the peace of the woods, but on one island, elves who worship the goddess of war make a stand. The battles that follow will be epic, but from them something new and unexpected will rise. Something born from fire and love.


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