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)] thaI 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)]...more
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. WheThe 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 blamI'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....more
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 eI 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....more
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.
MayWon 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!...more