A Study in Silks

A Study in Silks - Emma Jane Holloway An ARC was provided on behalf of Random House Publishing Group via Net Galley.

Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is preparing for her debut into Society when a murdered servant shows up in the cloakroom of her house. As an apple never falls far from the tree, Evelina is determined to uncover the truth surrounding the murder, but in the end, gets more than she ever bargained for.

Rife with magic, danger, lust, and ball gowns, Evelina’s life is not taking the turns she expected. Torn between her old life, and her new, she must make decisions that will impact everyone she knows and loves. But will her determination lead to more danger than ever before? And will her love lead her astray?

It’s the Season in London, but you never know which kind of season it truly is.

I went into A Study in Silks very, very excited. Sherlock’s niece? Pretty dresses? Balls? Murder? I wanted to read this book the moment I saw it. Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations.

At roughly 550 pages, A Study in Silks is quite a long novel. Normally, I wouldn’t mind, but the story progressed at such a slow rate, at times it was hard to invest myself in the world Holloway had created. I felt as if the story could have been completed in a much lower number of pages. For example, there were many recounts of the same night; just from different character’s perspectives. Yes, this allowed the reader a special bird’s eye view of what actually happened the night of the murder, but it also came across as a tad repetitive.

However, this style made reading A Study in Silks feel like reading a murder mystery movie, or TV show, if that makes sense. Clues were sprinkled throughout the novel, and one couldn’t be entirely sure if one’s assumptions and guesses were correct. I certainly liked that aspect of this novel.

For me, there were a few too many points of view for me to really connect with any of the characters. Perhaps if there was more consistency in the characters used; I would have been more pleased. But in the novel, there were so many different character voices to keep track of, and it was slightly confusing at times. I would have preferred to have maybe one or two chapters per character, and more chapters solely focussed on Evelina.

Evelina. I didn’t particularly like her as a character, and was not backing her in any of her decisions. She was constantly saving her own skin at the expense of others. I was constantly left questioning her actions, and thinking: surely your position in Society is not so important as ______. Her fixation on the genteel, and money made me dislike her quite a bit. The only aspect of Evelina’s character that I truly liked was her magic.

To be honest, in the sequel, A Study in Darkness, which I fully intend to read, I hope the magic aspect part of the story is explained in greater detail. I loved how Evelina created living clockwork toys from binding magic and mechanics, and I am interested to see how her powers progress.

The love triangle. Oh, boy. I am not a hater of love triangles. Sure, I am a tad fed up with their prominence in YA books, but I’m not going to hate on a book just because the main character has two love interests. But this love triangle completely annoyed me.

On the one hand, we have Nick. I pretty much fell in love with Nick the moment he stepped onto the page. A circus performer, and gypsy (*cue SWOON*), Nick is a remnant from Evelina’s old life. Nonetheless, he is still in love with her. Although I cannot completely understand why.

And bachelor number two: Tobias. Tobias is the brother of Evelina’s best friend, Imogen, and heir to a large sum of money. Tobias is Evelina’s gentleman eye candy, and he can fulfill all her dreams of being a rich housewife.

Evelina claims to have feelings for both of these men, but I cannot really understand her at all. Does she only love Nick because he represents what she left behind of her old life, and does she only love Tobias because he is a dashing suitor who can sweep her off her feet? The fact that she was constantly claiming her love for both men, but refusing to really choose just irritated me.

I suppose I was expecting some more ye olde English times, but I was pretty content with what was given. I loved reading about the balls, because who doesn’t love reading about balls, and calling cards, and dancing, and gowns? Or is that just me? Nevertheless, it was fun to read about.

I loved how Sherlock Holmes made a few cameo appearances in this book, and I really hope that he is featured more in the upcoming novels in this series. As I was reading his description, I was just imagining a cross between Robert Downey Jr, and Benedict Cumberbatch; if such a mix is even possible!

All in all, though this novel has some downs, it certainly had its ups, as well. I look forward to reading A Study in Darkness.

© 2013, Chiara @ Books For A Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.