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I Belong

Review: A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

Title: A Study in Silks

Author: Emma Jane Holloway

Genre: YA Mystery/Steampunk

Series: The Baskerville Affair (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Format: Paperback, 560 Pages

ISBN-10: 0345537181 (Del Rey/Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0345537188 (Del Rey/Random)

Reviewed byKaitlin


Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London Society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

Quick & Dirty: Evelina Cooper is a girl on a mission in this entertaining, hilarious tale. A mystery tale with betrayals, tension, and new questions at every turn!

Opening Sentence: Evelina froze, a breath half taken catching in her throat, nerves tingling down every limb.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Evelina Cooper, the niece of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, uses magic. She can talk to devas, spirits of certain elements, and she also has a few other special talents up her sleeve. One of those is deeply coveted by certain people, certain dangerous people. But magic is forbidden, and punished with an absolute iron fist: death or being tested on by scientists in lab coats. Evelina resides at her friend Imogen’s manor, quite a change from her roots of a traveling circus, where she has been training to become a lady.

The story begins on a night here where a servant girl, Grace, is murdered. By who, and why? Evelina Cooper sets out on a quest to find out.

As all this is going on, a love triangle is beginning to form. Nick, another magic user from her childhood at Ploughman’s circus, is up against Imogen’s brother, Tobias. Both have assets, and both are dear to her in different ways. Tobias is handsome, intelligent, and makes her heart beat faster at a look — but then, Nick represents everything she left behind, and shares something no one else can understand, magic.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate the author on a mystery book well done — writing all of those little pieces and then fitting them back one at a time is difficult and confusing work. I felt that this story was executed with fabulous writing flow plus just the right amount of betrayal, surprises, and tension. Mystery can easily stray across the line to confusing, but the details were processed well, and let’s not forget the endless laughs reading this entails! Also, me being a sucker for romance, I loved the raw electricity that gathered between Evelina and her two love interests.

The love triangle was one of my favorite parts of this story. Tobias and Nick duel for Evelina’s heart, at first not even realizing they have competition, both giving Evelina reasons to be the lucky man. The author didn’t give either character much more ground than the other, making the reader constantly question which they’re rooting for. In the end, I’m a Tobias fan, but Nick definitely put up a good fight!

Dr. Magnus was an interesting antagonist. He created spine-tingling moments, but I was irritated because he was confusing me with all his guest appearances into every characters life, each a different dialogue and each character sharing different feelings about him. It was hard to keep it all straight. He mingled with Tobias, Evelina, the Gold King, Nick, and even more. (Chapters are from many characters points of views). Other than that, my only other complaint was how I got bored in certain sections.

Altogether, I thought this story was quite enjoyable. Other than slight confusion, and the author dragging on for a little bit and making me bored, I loved the characters and the plotline. This is an engaging novel that I had lots of fun with, and considering everything going on, it’s easy to follow. Every once and awhile, everyone feels the urge to plop into a chair with a good old mystery book, so you might as well read it, right?

Notable Scene:

Nick gave a mocking little bow. “Very good, sir.”

“Now get out of my house.”

Nick glanced around, memorizing everything he could, before sauntering for the door. Magnus might not have realized it, but he just declared war.

The Baskerville Affair:

1. A Study in Silks

2. A Study in Darkness

3. A Study in Ashes (December 31, 2013)

FTC Advisory: Del Rey/Random House provided me with a copy of A Study in Silks. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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