Saturday, October 19, 2013

ARC Review: A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway

A Study in Darkness
Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Publication: Del Rey (October 29, 2013)

Description: 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 Thoughts: This second volume in the Baskerville Affair trilogy has all the complexity, steampunk details, plots within plots, magic, intrigue and romance of the first book and adds even more wonderful detail and character development. I almost felt like a needed a flowchart to keep track of who knew what and how all the characters were connected in this tightly plotted novel. 

I loved spending time with these well-rounded and well-written characters. With the possible exception of Dr. Magnus, even the villains had both strengths and weaknesses. That doesn't mean that I liked Jasper Keating, the Gold King, or Lord Bancroft but I could understand why they were making the decisions they were making. They were both so busy plotting and trying to outwit each other that the people around them suffered the consequences.

Lord Bancroft's children Tobias and Imogen are his pawns. Tobias is pressured into a marriage with the Gold King's daughter though he had been busy courting Evelina Cooper. Imogen is being pushed at another of the steam barons instead of being allowed to marry the wealthy but socially inferior Bucky Penner.

Evelina falls under the sway of the Gold King when she is caught kissing Tobias who is engaged to his daughter. Evelina finds herself in a very poor part of London spying for the Gold King and trying to find the Blue King's maker. Imagine her surprise when she runs into Dr. Magnus. Everyone thought the sorcerer had been killed but somehow he survived and is still plotting his revenge both against the Gold King and the other steam barons. Evelina is very tempted by Dr. Magnus because she has magic and he can teach her more about it. Lack of knowledge about her magic had forced her apart from her childhood sweetheart Niccolo because he has a different, incompatible magic. He ran off to become an air pirate in order to become wealthy and more worthy of her. Now their paths cross again. But both Keating and Magnus want the ancient device that he stole when he ran away to be a pirate and nowhere is safe for them. 

I have so many questions that I can hardly wait until December when the final book in the trilogy - A STUDY IN ASHES - will be released. Who is this mysterious Schoolmaster who is guiding the rebellion? Do Evelina and Niccolo find a way to be together? What happens to Imogen? Are the steam barons and Dr. Magnus finally defeated? December can not come soon enough. 

Favorite Quote:
"You want me to spy for you?" she asked incredulously. 

Holmes made an innocent face. "Ladies don't spy. They gossip. Copiously. Bring me something useful about Keating's activities."
I got this eARC at NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds pretty good. I just picked up The Clockwork Scarab which I guess is similar in that it has a relative of Sherlock Holmes also as the protagonist. I may have to give this series a try though as well after reading your review. Sounds like fun.


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