Yes, I have returned! Test week is finally over, and what better way to celebrate than with a book review? 😄
Anyway, when I read Icebreaker’s post, 10 Books for the Fangirl and saw A Study in Charlotte on it, I knew that I had to read this book. It sounded like so much fun! And I have to say, I liked it even more than I expected.
Summary: Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends. But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
Writing: 4/5: Cavallaro’s writing style was very crisp and to the point. It was neat, tidy, and fun to read. It may have had amazing structure, but it also had a charming factor that made it fun. Also, the plot easily could’ve been cliché, but the writing had enough twists to remain unpredictable. Jamie’s voice was prevalent throughout the novel, and we truly did see the world through his eyes; he’s a very subjective and emotionally reactive character, and that made it interesting.
Story: 4/5: The plot was very fun and straightforward: serial killings that mimic the original Sherlock Holmes stories. It was really the twists and Sherlock Holmes Easter eggs that made this book stand out. The use of references and nods to the original books was fun and enjoyable.
Characters: 3.5/5: I would’ve ranked this higher, as the cast of charcters had strong, vibrant personalities. Yet I feel as though this story would’ve made more sense if the characters were college students; some of them acted too mature for me to believe that they were in high school. And some character development (notably Jamie’s) was a little choppy; I felt as though his growing crush on Charlotte was not foreshadowed well.
Details: 4.5/5: The clues and details all strung nicely together. Cavallaro seemed to have a clear plan while writing, so I didn’t spot many inconsistencies. The deductions were all interesting and logical, and were realistic.
World Building: 3.5/5: This took place in the real world and was captured well, but again, I felt like the characters acted too mature to be high schoolers. So I ranked this a little lower.
- Slight twist on a Holmes and Watson team: Typically in stories where there’s a dynamic like this, both characters or male, or the Holmes character is male while the Watson is female. This time, the Holmes was the girl, and the Watson the boy. It was a fun twist.
- Charlotte Holmes: She is a very interesting version of a Holmes character. A character like this is a risky gamble; they can either be a gimmicky train wreck, or a captivating, intriguing charcter. Clearly, Charlotte fits the latter. She’s clearly more emotional than the typical Holmes character, but she has a lot of the struggles the character type faces.
- Respectful homage: this book is clearly a labor of love to the original Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s written with care and respect. Each of the murders was a clever Easter egg, yet with their own twists.
- I’m not sure how to phrase this, but in books like these, I don’t know how to feel about Holmes and Watson actually being real people. In Stoker and Holmes, this works because of its alternate history theme. But in a story based in the real world, I dunno how to feel. Maybe if they were descendants of two fictional people who inspired Holmes and Watson…? I dunno.
- Romance: I don’t ship Holmes and Watson teams. I know I’m in the minority on this, but I always love their friendships too much to do so. So I don’t care for the turn this relationship is taking. And it doesn’t help that I feel like the character development was rushed in this area, and it needed more foreshadowing.
- Seemed older than teenagers: the characters felt a little mature to be high schoolers. I don’t know why, they just behaved like they were older to me. And some of the situations matched college life more too.
3.5/5. I really enjoyed this book, and I was torn between giving it a 3.5 or a 4. But I finally decided to go with somewhat lower, as I have some subjective feelings towards certain aspects. But overall, I really liked this book, and I look forward to reading The Last of August…a lot!