Title: A Study in Darkness
Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Genre: Historical/Science Fiction/Mystery/Fantasy
Opening lines: “…What if the skies never cleared and his quarry skipped past, swathed in cloud like a bride beneath her veil?..”
Blurb: 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 clamouring 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.
My Thoughts: A STUDY IN DARKNESS picks up a few months after ‘A Study in Silks’ finishes and I have to say this is a much darker book. While the threat of menace started to build in the first it has now arrived with the final confrontation still ahead of us in the final book. Speaking of the third book A STUDY IN DARKNESS is definitely a transition book, clarifying some events that occurred in book one while obviously setting things up for the big finale. The evil steam barons are uniting to go against the rebels, however they are all plotting against each other as well. Then there is the mysterious rebel movement and the equally mysterious black wraiths controlling the depths of London; what their role is going to be is anyone’s guess. Lots of action in this book opening with a sky battle between two airships and then working its way through pirates, rebels, evil plots, bombs, weddings, betrayals, lies, secrets, more lies, more secrets and a few conspiracy theories before ending with not one cliff-hanger but two!!!
I enjoyed A STUDY IN DARKNESS but missed the occasional lightness of ‘A Study in Silk.’ While A STUDY IN DARKNESS was a tad shorter and there are still multiple narrators it didn’t jump around quite as quickly so was easier to keep track, although sometimes it took me a while to pick up who the narrator was sometimes. There is quite a bit of sadness in this second book in the ‘Baskerville Affair’ trilogy, as I mentioned in my opening it is quite grimmer than the first book without as much of the lighter moments that appeared in the first to break the mood. I am not sure if anyone was truly happy, and not sure what the author can do to make them happy, and is hard to tell where some of the loyalties of various characters really lie. , I really worry about Imogene – she is my favourite character and things look dire for her, but I am sure everything is going to be sorted out in ‘A Study of Ashes’ that is due out on New Year’s Eve – at least I hope it will end up happily with the goodies winning. If I could just figure out just who some of the goodies are.
Rating: C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.
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With thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Del Rey Spectra and the author via Netgalley.