Review of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

AStudyinCharlotteA Study in Charlotte
By: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Harper
Format: E-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

My Rating:

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

My Thoughts:
Oh, how I love all the Sherlock themed young adult novels. I new the moment I saw A Study in Charlotte I was desperate to read it. I really enjoyed this novel and found it to be a very fast paced and entertaining read.

We follow the story from Jamie Watson’s point of view and as always the Sherlock’s character is played by a stoic, cold type but in this novel it was a girl. Yay! I loved Charlotte’s characterization and felt that she was very well executed. It isn’t often that the female lead is more closed off than her male counterpart. I loved that this novel switched these roles.

I did expect a tad more chemistry and romance in this book though it wasn’t needed. The flow, pacing and prose were all wonderfully done. There was a chemistry between Watson and Sherlock but I felt it centered around their respect and friendship more than a sexual tension.

Another interesting thing about ASIC that made it stand apart was that Watson and Sherlock are the relatives of the famous duo. These two know the history between their families which added another unique spin to the story. I liked that there were many references to the original works. You can tell that Cavallaro is well versed in Sherlockolgy. Her knowledge adds so much to the overall feel of the novel.

The mystery these two explore was interesting though I wasn’t overly needing to know the outcome. What drove my interest in this novel was the relationship between Jamie and Charlotte. I loved the little bits they shared and deduced about each other. It was very easy to feel the emotions between these two and though it didn’t really veer into the romantic much it was touching and beautifully done.

Final Thoughts:
A Study in Charlotte is a great addition to the Sherlock reworks that have been released lately. I felt that this one was much different than the others I’ve read. I’d highly recommend this book to any Sherlock Holmes fans or anyone that likes a good mystery.

Gorgeous Cover- Decent Story

ArtintheBloodArt in the Blood
By: Bonnie MacBird
Release Date: August 27, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Print ARC
Source: McDuffie Communications

London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.

Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her young son has vanished, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man, an art collector seemingly beyond reach of the law.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

My Thoughts:
First, look at that cover. Take a moment to fully appreciate how absolutely beautiful it is. Okay, now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about the insides. I am a huge fan of the TV show, Sherlock and have loved reading the newest YA renditions and reworking of the classic Sherlock/Mycroft/Watson dynamics. Art in the Blood pulls more from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works at least in stylistic terms. The time period as well as the writing feels very much like an added work to the older classics. Full disclosure–I’ve never actually read Doyle’s work (!!!). I know. This needs to change.

Sherlock’s character was as expected- playing violin, brooding and genius. Since I’ve not read Doyle’s work I can’t adequately compare this version to the original but I had the impression MacBird incorporated many elements. In comparison to the more modern Sherlock renditions, I felt that this one was fairly accurate. One difference was that MacBird actually made her Sherlock not 100% right all the time. He made an error!

The book followed from Watson’s point of view for the most part though we got a couple chapters from Sherlock’s. The pacing was a tad slower (especially in the beginning) than I expected with the action scenes spaced out. I felt that the mystery wasn’t one in which I needed to figure it out and sadly, I didn’t care what the outcome would be for most of the characters. I feel that there wasn’t enough suspense to really carry the mystery and left me feeling a tad bored in areas.

I did, however, enjoy Sherlock and Watson. Their dynamic was exactly as I’d expect and want. The two start out at odds with Watson having been recently married. I do feel that because I’m such a fan of the TV show I was able to fill in gaps and imbue the characters with personality that I’m not sure was present in the writing. It was difficult to separate my own perceptions from what I was reading and I’d be interested to hear the opinion of a reader that was not a fan of the TV series.

Final Thoughts:
Art in the Blood lacked the suspense of the mystery that I expected but overall I did enjoy this book. I do think that my love of the TV show helped to fill in gaps in personality and helped to give me an easier time envisioning the story, especially with the newest episode (you really must watch the trailers!) being a more historical one.