First Lines: It was late December in the south of England, and though it was only three in the afternoon, the sky outside Charlotte Holmes’s bedroom window was as black and full as it would’ve been in the Arctic Circle.
ARC alert! I’ve actually been working on a couple of ARCs lately, so hopefully you’ll get some of those soon! Ok, this book doesn’t officially release until February 14, 2017, so you’ve got about a month and a half to think about my review and ponder your choices. Sound good? Good. You’re welcome.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Looking for a break from all the crazy of last semester, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes head to England for some R&R. But this isn’t the restful and relaxing vacation they were hoping for. Besides the awkwardness between Jamie and Charlotte as they wrestle with their growing feelings for each other, Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing. Perhaps this wouldn’t normally be a mystery that needs a Holmes’s attention, but Leander had been exceedingly cryptic about his latest assignment trying to break up a German forgery ring. So begins the race to find Uncle Leander before anything bad happens to him. Danger is afoot, and this European tour may be more dangerous than either of them suspect…
Now, I want to say that I adore the BBC series Sherlock (which premieres season 4 on January 1st!!!). I thought this would be a good way to jump into that world again, especially since I enjoyed the first book so much.
But I’m of two minds with this book. First of all, I truly do love these characters. Charlotte has a lock on being the Sherlock-type, the brilliant thinker who notices everything and plays games with the situation before literally anyone else knows they’re in the game, while also being a troubled teenage girl. She has issues. I mean, most Sherlocks are recovering addicts of some sort, and Charlotte is not one to be left out. But on top of that, she’s dealing with quite a bit of trauma. I liked that that made her feel more real and accessible, rather than just this sleuthing goddess.
I also really like Jamie. Temperamental and loyal, he’s a great counterpoint to Charlotte. He evens out her edges and forces her to slow down just a little. Now that he’s spent more time with Charlotte, he’s starting to trust her more and he’s beginning to notice more of the little things that she does to solve mysteries. I enjoyed his narration. These two have the most awkward friendship-that-may-not-be-friendship, but it’s also kind of cute?
So anyway, I clearly liked the characters. What I struggled with in this book was the mystery and how it unraveled. The crux of the mystery is a kidnapping, and yet very little of the story actually focuses on this. In fact, they start working on another mystery with the whole “If I can solve this, I can solve that” mentality, but I found it to be confusing and, frankly, a bit boring. I kept waiting chapter after chapter for more advancement in the first mystery and it just didn’t happen and didn’t happen. It tried my patience because I couldn’t figure out what the point of the story was.
And then the reveal. I know that Jamie’s generally confused because he doesn’t share the same brilliant mind the Holmes’s do, but this ending didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It happens very quickly with very little explanation, like it was a last-minute “Oh yeah, I haven’t solved this yet.” I was a bit frustrated by that, since I thought that was the whole point of this book.
That’s not to say that the entire story is junk. There are some comical scenes here; there are some tender and serious scenes that are worth it. And of course, I love the characters. I just thought the mystery could have been handled way better than it was. And now I feel like I’m completely belittling this book. I’m not. It truly was interesting…most of the time. It just has a few moments where I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere.