Saturday, December 21, 2013

ARC Review: A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway

A Study in Ashes
Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Publication: Del Rey (December 31, 2013)

Description: As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, handcuffed and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.

But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.

But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is . . . he’s dead.

My Thoughts: It is hard to know what to say about this satisfying conclusion to the Baskerville Affair trilogy because so many things happened. The story was richly complex and had great world building. What it also had was a large number of characters and we managed to follow all of them as the war with the Steam Barons finally began.

I enjoyed following Evelina's journey as she learns to deal with the magic that Magnus is forcing on her. And I loved her romance with Nick. Nick's story was also one that moved him from tragedy to triumph. I struggled along with Imogen as she battled her twin Anna and discovered her own strengths. I even liked Tobias better in this story as he seemed to grow up so much and become so much less self-centered. 

The villains - especially Keating and Lord Bancroft - were massively villainous. It was nice to see why Lord Bancroft was the way he was but it didn't make his actions more acceptable. His overwhelming ambition made him almost more villainous than any of the Steam Barons.

I liked getting to know more about the Black Kingdom and the Black King. I liked the open ending of the trilogy which tied up a number of loose ends but left possibilities for more stories. I recommend this series to fans of steampunk, Sherlock Holmes, and great world building. 

Favorite Quote:
"Everyone is quick to take what the Steam Council provides, but no one wants to pay the price for what we offer."

That was a bit like saying nobody appreciated the excitement of being raided by Vikings, but Tobias kept his mouth shut.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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