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October 26, 2014

Steampunk Sundays: A Study In Silks by Emma Jane Halloway

Series: The Baskerville Affair 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Adult Steampunk
BLURB: Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?


QUOTABLE QUOTES:
Finding a proper husband is rather like selecting a hound, They all have more bark than bite, my girl. One day you'll look across the breakfast table and realize the only option left is obedience training. Grandma Holmes

Independence doesn't come easily, not when one has enjoyed the privileges of rank. Tobias Roth

He turned to Holmes, "You're nothing but a busybody with a chemistry set." Holmes gave a slow blink, "Indeed. And I now how to make an admirable stink."



Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock put me in the mood to finally tackle Emma Jane Halloway's A STUDY IN SILKS which has been sitting in my ereader gathering virtual dust, for over a year now. Picking up this series is daunting because it's a chunky one with each book averaging at 530+ pages. It's packed with all sorts of things ranging from the trivial, like balls, courtship and aristocratic intrigue, to the more serious types like murder and conspiracies. EJHalloway spared no detail and took her time in introducing the characters, the world they live in, and the conflicts and overlapping entanglements they find themselves in. The Baskerville Affair is one of those epic series where each character is carefully placed and every event has already been determined. It's just a matter of allowing them to settle in their respective places and witness how it'll all play out. 

Leading the cast is Evelina Cooper, Sherlock Holme's niece, who was raised in the circus because her mother made the mistake of falling in love with the wrong person. After calling in favors and pulling strings, Evelina is in her first Season, got introduced to Queen Victoria, hobnobbing with aristocrats, and getting courted by one of the ton's most eligible bachelor, Tobias Roth, the brother of her BFF, Imogen, whose estate Evelina is currently crashing in. But it's not all tea parties and petticoats for Evelina, a maid was just murdered in the Bancroft house and being Evelina, she can't help but investigate calling in her Uncle Sherlock for assistance to which they discovered a very intricate conspiracy with Lord Bancroft, Tobias' father, right smack in the middle of it, leaving Evelina torn between justice and loyalty.

That just skims the surface and a poor piss summation of events so I'm sorry for that.

Moving forward... Evelina, the heroine of A STUDY IN SILKS and the one holding this tale together. At this point, Evelina is in a place where she's approaching a new chapter in her life and has yet to acclimate. She carried the novel well, she's smart and engaging, can be vulnerable and conceited, a realistic girl in the center of a fanciful tale. I like her but I have yet to love her. She's tenacious, fearless, and very loyal but she can also be very irritating sometimes. But like I said, Evelina is in the cusp of something and it's interesting where she'll find herself in the coming book and how she's going to navigate the world of these snobbish aristocrats as an outsider. 

There's a love triangle and Evelina's approach and behavior towards it is what annoyed me. So there's the handsome, Tobias, then there's, Circus Nick, who grew up with Evelina and has been carrying a torch for her all this time. Evelina is strongly attracted to Tobias but since they belong to different classes, it's going to be a scandal and it's a big no-no during this time. At the same time, she still feels loyal to Nick and still somewhat attracted to him however Evelina doesn't want that life anymore and has set her sights to something better aka Tobias. I can't blame her for wanting more, she should want something better for herslef, I just wasn't a fan of her passive-aggressive behavior towards Tobias and how she's snobbed Nick. The good news is EJHalloway is aware of this flaw and didn't inflate it, through Sherlock Holmes' character, s/he basically said that Evelina is way in over her head about her two suitors and should ground herself. Amen! 

The rest of the characters were engaging and their side stories added depth to A STUDY IN SILKS, fleshing out the world even more. All of them are interconnected somehow making the web a sticky one and very intriguing to figure out. The supernatural factor is magical and deadly. There are the cute devas, mechanical animals that houses elemental spirits, cursed artifacts, black magic, and all sorts of accouterments in between rounding up this Steampunk adventure. 

The best part is there is a villain, Dr. Magnus, who is a very cunning formidable foe, and there are antagonists such as Lord Bancroft who dislikes Evelina, and the Barons who are bent on monopolizing England and its citizens regardless of the cost. So the conflicts are layered and all tangled up I don't know how Evelina is going to untangle the mess without getting tripped.

I love EJHalloway's writing style, her Victorian world even with the Steampunk elements, the historical part felt very authentic from the dialogue down to the rules of society, nuances that some authors deem unimportant, failing to realize that vibing this era is crucial in this genre. I love that The Baskerville Affair has an immense world and all encompassing one making it a riveting tale that not only focuses on the mysteries but extends to mundane relationships and the human aspect of the story. I'm definitely glad I finally started this. So I apologize for the ramble, I'll leave it at I LOVE A STUDY IN SILKS and I hope some of you will check it out sooner than later.

The game is still afoot. It might be limping, but it's not finished yet.






31 comments:

  1. Hell yeah, I'd totally read this

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    1. Glad I finally found a book you'll possibly try.

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  2. There are so many things in this review that I love that I'm willing to take a shot listening (yes I just found it on audible ..yay!) despite the love triangle aspect of it.
    Great review Braine :)

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    1. Thanks, lady! It should be a long listen if ever, I hope it'll be worth our time.

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  3. Not super thrilled about the love triangle but the rest sounds fabulous!

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    1. I'm nervous about it too, we'll see where it'll lead.

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  4. I just purchased this book four hours ago! Glad to see this review! :D

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    1. Oh I hope you enjoy it, let me know when you're done, let's compare notes :)

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  5. I absolutely loved this series. I was restless for each new release and I even went back and read all the freebie short stories.

    Glad you loved it, Braine!

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    1. Freebie?! Shit I'm in!

      Yeah I saw your review, it encouraged me to plow through the pages. Thanks for the head's up, lady :)

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  6. Wow! I know it is hard to pick up a big book, but it looks like htis one was worth it. The characters all gave great depth to the story and it seems that the love triangle was done well. Great review.

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. It has all that, it's just long so it's challenging to finish.

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  7. Oh, this sounds like a lot of fun. 530+ pages ... whew! Sounds worth it, though. I mean, c'mon, Sherlock's niece? Hell yeah. Love triangle ... I think I'll deal . ;D

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  8. Oh I'm so happy to see you had a wonderful time with this one, I loved the trilogy, they were so fun to read and so many things happen. I think it's a really good steampunk book! great review!

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    1. Thanks for that lady, I need a push to get through it, it's CHUNKY!

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  9. This one does sound like a true steampunk book with the magic and Victorian setting. I need to get into more steampunk books! Sounds like the main character's indecisiveness when it came to the love interests was pretty annoying though. Thanks for the great review Braine!

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    1. I hope you do, there's a few good YA Steampunk and I know there's NA too! I know you prefer those genres

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  10. I've read some really good reviews for this title, and some really bad ones, so I'm having a hard time making up my mind. One thing is for sure, I NEED a new Steampunk addiction! I'll check-out the preview on Amazon to see if I like Halloway's writing style half as much as you did.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

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    1. I hope you like it, if not let me know, I can recommend some more :)

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  11. I started reading this book twice and just couldn't get into it. I love Steampunk but this didn't pull me in like other stories I've read. I might give it another chance someday but I'm really glad that my experience wasn't yours and that you enjoyed it Braine! :)

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    1. It does have a slow start, she took her time introducing her story so I don't blame ya.

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  12. I have had this on my Kindle like you for far too long. I have the second and third books as well. I really need to dive in and check out this world. I am not thrilled to hear about the love triangle though.

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    1. LOL I know, love triangles suck, it's not that bad here, we'll see how it plays out.

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  13. Being raised with the circus is def an unusual upbringing

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  14. Darn it you tempt me so dang bad Braine. Love when a "good" villain is involved.

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    1. Oh I love villains, the more evil the better!

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  15. Ack. I don't know. The love triangle will probably drive me nuts. Especially if Evelina waffles between the two.

    Great review, Braine!

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    1. I'll be sure to give you an update on that front, I'm not a fan of love triangles either but it hasn't reached Annoying status as of yet.

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  16. Braine, trust me on this: book #2 and #3 are miles better! I don't know what happened with the author but she got her shit together and got rid of the love triangle and made these books dark, grippy and full of non-stop action. Really recommend you to continue with this series :)

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