Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Hollloway (review)



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 grounds of Jack the Ripper.

My review:

A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway is part of ‘The Baskerville Affair’ series and continues the saga of Evelina (Evie) Cooper, niece of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes as she becomes even more firmly ensnared in the struggles between rival leaders. The uncanny resurrection of a danger Evie thought vanquished, her tangled romantic affairs and the danger to those she cares for threatens to draw Evie even further on a dark journey. The struggle to overthrow the tyranny of those who control the utilities is getting more violent even as a series of horrific murders seem to have connections to Evie’s beloved friend Imogen. Dark family secrets and power struggles that threaten the very stability of society may destroy everything that Evie holds dear if she and her allies cannot find a way out of the tangle she has become enmeshed in. Unfortunately, there are always casualties in any war and this one may prove fatal to all too many people that Evie cares about.

This delightful steampunk tale blends the conventions of the beloved Sherlock Holmes series with an enthralling reimagining of a world where some people have magic and others monopolize the different forms of tangible power. The intriguing look at the Holmes brothers (Sherlock and Mycroft) as seen through their interactions (or lack thereof) with their niece Evelina is contrasted with a complex struggle for control that is being waged on land and in the air. The gradual unfolding of the mysteries behind the families who are locked into the backstabbing fight taking place is combined with the tortuous romantic adventures that Evelina is at the center of.

Throw in a different look at the Jack the Ripper events and cameos from my favorite mechanical inventions animated by their own devas (Mouse and Bird) along with a maturation of several characters and this mesmerizing tale makes one anxious to see how the complications which develop in the story are resolved, particularly given the amazing twists that are revealed. There are great images evoked by this author’s facility with words and the sarcastic asides provided by the non-human characters give light moments to offset some of the fairly graphic violence. A wonderful addition to the series which definitely should be read in order to be best appreciated.  

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.  

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