Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places

Miss Evelina Cooper finds herself in a new situation in Emma Jane Holloway's A Study in Darkness.

Note: A Study in Darkness is part of the the ongoing The Baskerville Affair series. For the first book, A Study in Silks, click here. Otherwise, read on!

Following the events of Evelina's disastrous debut season, she was sent packing to Grandmother Holmes' house. Nearly ruining a family tends to have thatsort of result. Never mind that the young master tried to kill her uncle, such things happen when your relation is the inestimable Sherlock Holmes. But with Tobias betrothed to the daughter of a Steam Baron, it was high time for Evenlina to bid a hasty retreat.

Reputations are a funny thing though, and when Tobias and Evelina have a chance encounter at a ball, emotions run high. Even a farewell kiss in a darkened study can have grave consequences when observed by a ruthless father of the bride.

The Indomitable Niccolo has hardly been idle these last months. Having stolen Athena's Casket out from under several powerful men's noses, Nick is one of the newer air pirates on the scene. With an air deva on the bow of his ship, he's got a powerful ally on his side, as well as a way to learn control over the powerful magic flowing through his veins. With the street-thug-turned-maker Striker by his side, he's well on his way to making the fortune he thinks he needs to win back Evelina's hand.

Even Imogen, Evelina's best friend and Tobias' sister, comes into her own. Still frail and with nightmares worse than ever, Imogen still has a will of her own. When it looks as though Lord Bancroft may be looking for another marriage of opportunity, she takes matters into her own hands.

Evelina's hardly a hothouse flower herself, content to hang back and wait to be saved. With a bomb going off in her uncle's office, a murderer dubbed Jack the Ripper terrorizing Whitechapel and the Gold King holding her momentary indiscretion over her head, Evelina will do whatever it takes to keep her loved ones safe.

Even if it means taking lessons in forbidden magics from a certain sorcerer.

Holloway's ability to keep a dozen plot threads alive at once, without muddying or neglecting a single one pays off in spades. As plots within plots come to light and alliances are made and broken, the reader never feels any more lost than the characters in the story. A Study in Darkness is a wonderful addition to The Baskerville Affair and leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

Highs: Watching the young ladies of this story become strong, independent thinkers is much more rewarding than their pining over lost wedding gifts.

Lows: It seems that a lot of fuss could have been avoided if Evelina had a bit more faith in her uncle and Niccolo.

Verdict: The plot thickens, love blossoms and magic goes deeper than anyone could have guessed.

Further Reading: A Study in Ashes, God Save the Queen, Soulless

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