Review: A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway

Review: A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane HollowayA Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway

Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Steampunk Romance
Published by Del Rey on October 29, 2013
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

This second installment of the Baskerville Affair picks up a few months after the first story ends.  It leaped right in giving a check in with each plot thread and each of them more exciting and intriguing that the one that came before it.  As with the first story, there are a multitude of perspectives and storylines that just left me reeling.  Apparently I’ve gotten used to it and learned to appreciate the storytelling style because I was enthralled with the zinging here and there I did in this book trying to work out the plotting, the mystery, the romances and how in the world all my favorites were going to come through it alive and unscathed.

Fair warning, this absolutely positively must be read in order or you will think you tumbled into a loony bin.

For the sake of sanity, I’m going to summarize the main storyline here and not try to follow each storyline that is there.  Evalina Cooper has spent a few months of peace and quiet with her Grandmother Holmes in the country recovering from all that went on before, but now she is back in London to sort her life out.  It all seems so dismal- she’s lost Nick, she’s lost the Roth family including her love interest to be sacrificed to the Gold King Jasper Keating’s ambition, and she’s lost her purpose.  But then there is a bomb blast at Uncle Sherlock’s and Imogene requests her to come to her because something odd is happening and enemies are becoming friends.  Her uncle sends her to nose out what’s going on.

Spying only gets her in trouble and into the Gold King’s clutches.  They strike a deal.  Evalina agrees to go into the Blue King’s territory to hunt down his mechanical genius and right into the dark streets where a murderer is loose and the rebels plot sedition.  Keating gives her a time limit and an ultimatum.  So many people have their fingers in the pie and the stakes just get higher.

The plot on this one just drove forward at a punishing pace because of all the threads that were going on at once.  I picture the author like one of those six-horse team carriage drivers who have to keep so many animals under control and going in the right direction.  Admirable to say the least.  Evalina is still the main character though other narrators are Nick, Imogene, Sherlock Holmes, Lord Bancroft, Alice Keating and Jasper Keating.  See?  A boatload of storytellers.  While I found it overwhelming in the first story, I was able to hang with it and enjoy the pacing and tone it created this time.

The atmosphere on this one grew decidedly darker even from the first one.  If the gruesome murders don’t do it, the Roth’s vile secret with the automatons and the Steam Council’s slimy ploys will do it.  Evalina really gets herself into a bad spot in this one and she is totally on her own.  She’s young and impetuous, but she’s also smart and courageous.  Her decisions bothered me, but then again I couldn’t think of better solutions either.  It just bugs me that it always comes down to her throwing herself on the sacrificial altar and it just ends up making stuff worse.

This book was definitely a transition book.  I could tell that things were being lined up and readied for some big stuff that is still to come.  The steam barons are allies against the rebels, but also enemies to each other.  There is the shadowy rebel movement and the mysterious black wraiths controlling the depths of London that hopefully will get some more page time in the next book.  Evalina has learned a bit more about her powers and to have a healthy respect for them.  The situation with Nick and that last bit about Imogene has me rabid to find out what happens next.

This series is a dark gritty Sherlockian Paranormal Steampunk Romantic Suspense that offers something for everybody.  The romance is slow building as is the plot.  Totally delicious series that fans of these blended genres should give a look-see at.

My thanks to Net Galley for providing the book for review purposes.

Review by Sophia Rose

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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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  • steph fangswandsandfairydust

    I often feel like I stumbled into a loony bin in any event!

    • Sophia Rose

      LOL! I know some people can’t stand a dizzying pace, but I find once I’m insync I can do it. Wonder what that says about me? ;D

  • ki pha

    Steam Punk!!!! This is going on my list. 🙂

    • Sophia Rose

      Yes, Ki Pha! Glad you’re going to try it, but snag Study in Silks first or you’ll be totally lost.

      • ki pha

        Okay, got it. 😉

  • I have this one from NG & need to read it

    • Sophia Rose

      Definitely because it leads up to a lot of stuff and book three is coming fast.