I did not like this one nearly as much as the others. I mean there were points (view spoiler)[like when Smithback took the diamond (hide spoiler)] tha...moreI did not like this one nearly as much as the others. I mean there were points (view spoiler)[like when Smithback took the diamond (hide spoiler)] that reminded me why I've been powering through the series, but I simply didn't connect to any of this.
Mostly, I suppose because it turned out to be an excuse to get all the sidekick characters from earlier books into a reunion.
But also because this book is about Pendergast colliding with his evil brother, and quite honestly I don't read these books for Pendergast, because characters he interacts with tend to be far more interesting. They have flaws, they have passion, and they're generally brave. Pendergast though is your generic Sherlock expy, except I get less of a sense of humanity from him. And I don't really remember the villains from the other books. Mostly because they aren't nearly as compelling or well-drawn as the sidekicks, and it's the 'supernatural' element that's the real threat, the real driving force of the novel(s). The big bad of this book has no particular paranormal element, except for being a Pendergast, but didn't inspire any thrills in me. Really, he's a younger, ginger Moriarty.
I mean, at one point he's described as "almost effeminate." Really book? That's terribly cliche, and (view spoiler)[a killer whose goal, whether "Kill all of my brother's friends for giggles" or "steal ALL the diamonds!" simply doesn't inspire the fear of (view spoiler)[beings that randomly slaughter anyone they come across beyond all normal human conception (hide spoiler)]. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The narrative voice is nearly as annoying as Zoey Redbird's: better in that the skill level of the prose is higher, worse because it's consistent. Whe...moreThe narrative voice is nearly as annoying as Zoey Redbird's: better in that the skill level of the prose is higher, worse because it's consistent. When Zoey shut up, description was written cleanly...but this narrator, whose name I can't even remember, never shuts up at all.
There's also an infodump in the middle of a sea chase, and all of it is overlong.
I'm hoping part of my struggle with this was the translation, but I'm not sure how much of slow pacing, dull villain and tedious characters I can blam...moreI'm hoping part of my struggle with this was the translation, but I'm not sure how much of slow pacing, dull villain and tedious characters I can blame on language issues. But the spare prose didn't help. I just didn't feel for any of the characters or even plot. And it didn't help all the dead in the village were treated as irrelevant. It was a frustrating read, but I'll look at other reviews to see if others can persuade me it was worth it.(less)
I had so much fun with this one, I can't help but go the extra star, though for many reasons I am nearly convinced to give it three. Having read and e...moreI had so much fun with this one, I can't help but go the extra star, though for many reasons I am nearly convinced to give it three. Having read and enjoyed it, however, might make my argument that I'm not that obsessed with Sherlock Holmes that much weaker.(less)
Won on First Reads! and I can't wait til it arrives—I'm a great fan of Sherlock Holmes and am definitely crossing my fingers.
May...moreWon on First Reads! and I can't wait til it arrives—I'm a great fan of Sherlock Holmes and am definitely crossing my fingers.
Maybe I should round up, but I'm trying to be as scrupulously honest as possible, and I think I liked it less than 'really'.
The Consulting Detective Part I describes the university years of Sherlock Holmes (I'm sure you never would have guessed). It is less of a standalone novel than I'd supposed. Though The Crack in the Lens was described as a prequel, TCDpI continues directly after the events of that novel, and there's little catch-up for new readers.
As a long-term fan fiction reader, I'm not sure how much this will throw off the average reader.
To sum up as best I can without spoilers, Sherlock survived a traumatic event back home, that left him ill and mentally fragile. By the time TCDpI takes place, he's mostly recovered, but his convalescence is long, and he needs to decide what to do with his life.
The 'in media res' beginning cause some confusion for the reader, mostly in the lack of description: for instance I didn't know Sherlock's servant, Jonathan, was only 13 until chapter 4.
I'm not sure this book should be described as a "trilogy". While it covers only one era of Sherlock's life, there's not a strong plot thread—it's more an overall plot arc, told through an episodic structure. For the most part, I enjoyed the breadth of his experiences, as all these different events do show the growth of his character effectively.
The characters were fun. Sherrinford, Sherlock's mother and father, Jonathan, all felt rather thin. However, I loved Mycroft; every time he showed up he right on point, exactly right. Since many writers seem to struggle with his character, I especially appreciated his few brief appearances. One character, a Lord Cecil, is the standard bully in any school story; though he and Sherlock rarely interact, so it doesn't overwhelm Sherlock's story. (view spoiler)[Cecil is also a self-aware jerk, and frankly I liked him better than way, but then he's reformed. (hide spoiler)]
The prose was workmanlike, for the most part. Cypser struggles with integrated dialogue and exposition into the story. However,she clearly did her research, and there were several surprising details. I did notice a few problems with typos and run on sentences, but not too disruptive.
My favorite part is that in some ways, Sherlock makes some dumb decisions and lots of mistakes. He lacks much of his later self-control. Knowing Sherlock almost entirely through Watson (who, honestly, is my favorite), that sounds a little odd, but it makes sense for such a young man, and it's never out of character, especially for the back story we're given. Sometimes he veers toward melodrama, but not for long, and especially as he recovers and events pick up, most of that goes away.
Overall, if you like Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and are interested in a logical Sherlockian backstory, I'd definitely recommend this novel!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I almost gave this book three stars, for being so exactly what it is.
So exactly what it is, in fact, that at first I thought I stumbled on a parody of...moreI almost gave this book three stars, for being so exactly what it is.
So exactly what it is, in fact, that at first I thought I stumbled on a parody of the genre (which is the hard-boiled private eye type).
Joe Pitt is a Vampyre in New York. Because he has the Vyrus. Except there really is a supernatural reality, despite the psuedo-science explanations for the vampires (whyyyy the y?) and the zombies/shamblers (or VOZs for "victims of zombification"). Now, actually, the science-y background isn't bad. It's a bit goofy, but really so are vampires.
It had an exceedingly gory beginning, which I didn't expect. But really I didn't expect much since I found this available on Overdrive and didn't actually look to see what it was about: it was just the first of a series and available. Pickings are just so slim. Anyway, there's a lot of gore, probably too much for some readers—not that I'm particularly desensitized or anything, I just can turn off my imagination. There's also...
...well, I was going to say swearing, but really it's just the 'f' word You may well guess I'm not particularly comfortable with swearing, and I frankly don't like it when I swear far too often (which I do). But I do the same way the book does—with no creativity whatsoever. I've not taught myself to swear or known many people with huge cursing vocabularies, but I'm still vaguely aware that there are more out there than the only infix in American English.
Joe Pitt, the vampire quasi-PI, was an interesting character for me as a reader. He is a vampire, so while I didn't like how distanced he was from human suffering, it made since for how long he's been a vampire, and his backstory. I was never fully convinced by his girlfriend though, who is, of course, attractive. But she's also twenty two, and that made me rather uncomfortable, for many reasons. One being that it felt a little self-indulgent.
As you may have noticed from the "VOZs", Huston does have politically conscious vampires who satirize a number of current political/cultural concerns, and while it can be kind of fun, it, again, made me a little uncomfortable. Some of the satire was too little unexamined.
The novel dropped from three to two stars mostly for the second half. The beginning is clever and there's interesting world-building, and the pacing isn't bad. The story does keep up the pace, but since I did read the whole thing in one day, the end got a bit exhausting, since it just kept piling onto the narrator, and then took a while to finish wrapping things up.
Oh, and often I shelf books according to it's approximate origination point, if location is important enough. This book is so New York, I would be surprised if there is, in fact, any other existing place. Maybe it's a dystopia where the entire rest of the world is destroyed? Or maybe everyone in New York sincerely thinks about it as it's own separate city-state.
I wouldn't know. I've never been further east than Chicago, and am a California girl to the bone.(less)