“The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.”
-Synopsis taken from Goodreads
Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!
“Truth be told, I liked that blurriness. That line where reality and fiction jutted up against each other.”
Stars (Out of 10): 7.5/10 Stars
Favorite Character: Jamie
Spoiler Free: I recently (finally) watched all the currently released season of BBC Sherlock, and I’m still on kind of a Sherlock Holmes high since then, and was dying to read all sorts of mystery! I’ve seen this series around for the longest time, and after some convincing from some of my book friends, I finally picked it up! (It helped that, at my time of interest, I was able to snatch the first three books in mainly hardcover for like, $15)
In the end, I quite enjoyed it. I was a fan of the writing style, and the plot kept me guessing, but I did miss the feeling of suspense that usually accompanies mystery books. Instead of feeling more and more tension as the story got further along, my feeling of suspense and intrigue seemed to flatline. It may just be the fault of how I paced the reading of this book though, as I limited myself to two chapters a day since I was reading with a buddy. Regardless, this is what lowered the book to 8/10 though.
Going back to the writing though, I was quite fond of the style. A contemporary, regardless of subgenre, grabs me most when there’s something unique about the style, whether it be an intrigued first person voice or just an odd, mysterious third person one. In this case, however, our Jamie Watson was an odd, sometimes aloof, voice, and I still really enjoyed seeing everything from his point of view. His personality was just different from the standard YA contemporary protagonist, but also still not a copycat of other “oddball” YA voices, and this is part of what hooked me!
Additionally, I quite liked the characters themselves. The author did a good job of building their personalities and ensuring the characters stuck to it. Jamie is a fairly friendly, forgiving guy, and this is held true throughout. On the other hand, Charlotte is often distant and strange, but still quite a strong character, and nothing changes this, even a little hint of romance. Even the side characters are quite interesting, and none seem to fall into stereotypical tropes (except for a few… exceptions).
I guess the plot is where it failed the most, mainly due to the lack of suspense build-up. I couldn’t guess what was going to happen next at all, but that may be due to the lack of foreshadowing (unless I entirely missed all the hints that were being dropped). Since this is a Sherlock Holmes retelling, and we are looking only through the eyes of Jamie (a much lesser detective by far), we really only know what Charlotte wants us to know, which didn’t seem to ever be enough to guess what was going on. Charlotte was the one with the background knowledge to know who it was, so when it was finally put together in front of her, we got the answer straight away.
Regardless, I’m intrigued as to how this series develops, as while this story could have definitely stood alone, there were more than enough loose ends to be knotted up, so I’m excited to see where those all go!