ARC Review: A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway

ARC Review: A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane HollowayA Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway

Genres: Steampunk Romance
Published by Del Rey on December 31, 2013
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

After all the build-up from the last two books and seeing such a fat amount of pages to this one, I just knew we were coming down to it.  This series has produced a plethora of main characters all lined up behind Evalina Cooper with their own plot threads and exciting build-ups.  They are all such delectable characters- even the villains- so I was never disappointed when the story swapped to new scenes and new narrators.

It has been a year since the events of the last book (totally need to read these in order by the way).  The story picks up with everyone on the side of right in dire straits and those set on villainy are poised to start a ‘winner take all’ war.  Evalina is incarcerated at the ladies’ college where Jasper Keating the Gold King put her, but he has bound her magic and set a guard on her.  She barely cares and tries to bury her sorrows over Nick in her chemistry work.  Tobias feels the chains of his imprisonment too as he serves Keating by making his machines of war and still tries to preserve his soul while worrying about his family.  He now has a wife and son depending on him as well as his parents and sisters.  No matter what decision and path he takes, someone will suffer.  Poppy is growing up and worried that her father will try to use her for his own gain like he did her sister and why does she feel like she’s the only one who is still fighting to save Imogene?  Imogene is still trapped in Magnus’ magic clock, but now she realizes why and she is filled with terror to discover that she is not alone.  The Baskerville rebels know that they must hurry to be anywhere near prepared when the Steam Barons unleash their might against each other.  It’s the last hour, but unlikely allies and events finally start to come and the tide is on the turn.  New enemies and old step out of the shadows.  Things long a mystery are revealed.  All comes to a head in war and like any other war this one has its casualties and they hit really close to home for many people.

Yes, I was deliberately vague in that summary, but I think I’ve given folks the right idea.  This one’s for all the marbles.  There was a lot of set up and some really big surprises along the way.  Be patient because it was worth it.  It was a big book full of pages that just seemed to fly by for me.  The end was a huge finale leaving me breathless.  There were still a few loose ends that leave room for more, but much of the main story line does get satisfied.  Whatever story strand that was teasing you before is satisfied.  This one has it all too even grander than the books before it with its drama, adventure, intrigue, romance, paranormal, gadgetry and just exciting twistiness to its storyline.

I loved the more than nod to one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes’ stories when the Hound of the Baskervilles made its appearance.  And dear Dr. Watson joined with Sherlock and Mycroft in this one.  Oh and someone else from Sherlockian lore too, but I’m not telling who because I want everyone to have that surprise element.

In the end, I was sad for some of the events and ever so happy for others.  There are two storylines that I hope are pursued in the future.  I loved this series so much that I am really not ready to bid it farewell so I hope there is more.

Those who enjoy paranormal steampunk romance and suspense and those who are just huge Sherlock Holmes’ fans should give this series a try.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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