Release Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
When a bomb goes off at 221B Baker Street, Evelina Cooper is thrown into her Uncle Sherlock’s world of mystery and murder. But just when she thought it was safe to return to the ballroom, old, new, and even dead enemies are clamoring for a place on her dance card.
Before Evelina’s even unpacked her gowns for a country house party, an indiscretion puts her in the power of the ruthless Gold King, who recruits her as his spy. He knows her disreputable past and exiles her to the rank alleyways of Whitechapel with orders to unmask his foe.
As danger mounts, Evelina struggles between hiding her illegal magic and succumbing to the darker aspects of her power. One path keeps her secure; the other keeps her alive. For rebellion is brewing, a sorcerer wants her soul, and no one can protect her in the hunting ground of Jack the Ripper.
"I learned long ago that the one who fights the longest and hardest for truth does the most damage to everything he loves. Nothing withstands that kind of scrutiny." - Bancroft
"I (Evelina) learned that I can be tempted"
Sherlock gave a brief flicker of a smile. "Everyone can. It's just a matter of who will admit to it, and who whistles in the dark, and who will make that weakness their weapon."
"One has to understand the nature of a fatal flaw before one can find it in others. Know yourself, to know your enemy."
This is a case of (maybe) It's not you, it's me. I don't know if I'm suffering from the holiday blues or what because I was tittering between sleepiness and boredom whilst reading A STUDY IN DARKNESS, book two of Emma Jane Halloway's Baskerville Affair. It didn't help that this novel was over 500 pages and felt like 1000 because of the slow pace.
So the first one, A Study in Silks, left us with a major arc with lots of moving pieces pertaining to this powerful artifact called Athena's Casket. Then there are side stories regarding Evalina Cooper's relationships with various individuals and their respective storylines. It was a fun beginning filled with intrigue and complications and I for one was eager to find out how this epic series is going to unfold. Sadly A STUDY IN DARKNESS suffered from middle book syndrome, the plot of the book itself was simple yet EJHalloway took too darn long to get from point A to point B, lingering on a lot of side stories that were pertinent, to be fair, but IMHO the overall effect of these little threads to the story would still be the same even if it were shorter.
In the case of the automaton, Seferina, it was pretty obvious who and what this mysterious automaton is, no need to flesh her out as much since she was a temporary participant in the story. We get it, Seferina is creepy and she's got something up her sleeve, we don't need several illustrations of this machine's profoundness. Then there's the love triangle whose resolution was underwhelming. There was this huge tension between Evaline, Nick, and Tobias in the first book and the resolution felt like these people are now settling because who they truly want is no longer available. Oi vey! How unromantic! Then there's the evil villain Magnus who's surprise return was interesting at first and then got flat throughout. And finally the Gold King, Keating, his storyline took the longest to come into fruition and as expected, he still has everyone by the balls.
What redeemed A STUDY IN DARKNESS for me was the ending, which doesn't justify the means but it was a good WTF moment if you get my drift. It's a frickin' monkey wrench and I don't even know how Evelina & Co. are going to resolve this let alone discover Magnus' little keepsake for them. Naturally I want to know but because of this cottonmouth feel this book left me with, I'm not dashing to grab the last book. I'd have to motivate myself some more before I dive in especially as it's 600+ pages long!
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