Hannah's Reviews > The Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
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Sep 29, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-reads, mysteries
Read in September, 2011

Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

It takes guts to mess with a canon as sacred to fans as the Holmesian one. It takes skill (and a healthy dose of respect) to do it well. Author Laurie King shows off all of these traits in abundance in her debut novel featuring famed and beloved master detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick John Watson Mary Russell. Yep, you heard me, Mary Russell: half American, half Jewish, 15 years old at the beginning of the story, and 100% Holmes' equal in spirit and intellectual firepower. King pays homage to all that is best about Conan Doyle's literary creation, but adds a bit of spunk and feminine can-do with the introduction of Mary. Their initial meeting, Holmes' tutelage of his protege, their crime solving escapades all make for an entertaining read. Beyond that, her characterization of Holmes feels "right" to this fan of the original stories.

I would have rated it higher but for a sloppy and "out-of-left-field" unmasking of the villain, IMO. Otherwise, it's great to know I have a new series to dive into, especially one of this caliber.
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Carol Kerry-green Really hope you enjoy it as much as I did Hannah. Look forward to your review.


message 2: by Hannah (last edited Sep 19, 2011 11:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Carol wrote: "Really hope you enjoy it as much as I did Hannah. Look forward to your review."

It's gotten off to a good start. Mary is a great character, and I think King has captured Holmes beautifully. I'm also glad to see Watson and Mrs. Hudson included :)

I liked The Moor when I read it early this year, so it will be good to backtrack and read the series from the beginning.


Carol Kerry-green Mary is a brilliant character and an excellent foil for Holmes. Yes, I was happy to see Mrs Hudson and Watson involved from the beginning. I'm eagerly awaiting the new one at the moment, it's out in hardback, but not paperback or available for kindle. That's the problem when you go through an author's back catalogue quickly like I have a tendency to do; makes waiting for the new ones somewhat harder:)


Hannah Carol wrote: "I'm eagerly awaiting the new one at the moment, it's out i..."

Yes, that's always a problem when you find a *new* author/series you enjoy. I've only gotten the first 4 of this series. If I continue liking it, I'll get the rest from my library.


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Kim and Jeanette liked this one too, and it's on my TBR list :-)


Hannah Anna wrote: "Kim and Jeanette liked this one too, and it's on my TBR list :-)"

IMO, King has done the Holmes canon proud. This promises to be a great series. Look forward to your thoughts on it :)


Carol Kerry-green IMO, King has done the Holmes canon proud. This promises to be a great series. Look forward to your thoughts on i..."

Agree, she has captured the elements so well. Am looking forward to what you think of Monstrous Regiment, which is one of my favourites.


Hannah Carol wrote: "Agree, she has captured the elements so well. Am looking forward to what you..."

Thanks, Carol. King, IMO, captured the spirit of what I would imagine Holmes to be in his "retiring" years, and his relationship with Mary was believable, despite the decades between them. The only thing that prevented me from rating this one higher then 3.5 stars was that I didn't like how King wrapped up the matter of the mastermind criminal. It seemed to come out of left field and there was no foreshadowing or any attempt to include the reader in figuring out who it could be. Or maybe I just missed it? Regardless, that part was a letdown in an otherwise excellent debut.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm interested to hear what you think of the second volume. I really liked this one, but didn't care for the second.


message 10: by Hannah (last edited Sep 24, 2011 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Jeannette wrote: "I'm interested to hear what you think of the second volume. I really liked this one, but didn't care for the second."

My friend Carol commented that #2:, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, one of her favorites (although she added a "u" to "favorite" 'cause she's English and they like extra vowels - :D!). It will be interesting to see which side of the GR friend fence I land, right?


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I think the story seemed too familiar to me, among other things.


message 12: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Good review, Hannah. In spite of having some reservations about the plotting, I enjoy King's writing and the characters. I'm looking forward to getting #3.


Hannah Kim wrote: "Good review, Hannah. In spite of having some reservations about the plotting, I enjoy King's writing and the characters. I'm looking forward to getting #3."

Thanks, Kim.
Yes, I tend to agree with you about the plotting. Sometimes King spends too much time on extraneous details that don't further the story, but as you say, she does have a great flair for writing and her characters feel authentic. This is definitely a fun series to read.


message 14: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Numbers 3 and 4 arrived in the mail today, so I have some fun reading to look forward to!


message 15: by Hannah (last edited Sep 27, 2011 05:08AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Kim wrote: "Numbers 3 and 4 arrived in the mail today, so I have some fun reading to look forward to!"

Yes you do.
I actually started the series at the beginning of 2011 with #4 because I love The Hound of the Baskervilles and King sent Holmes and Russell back to Dartmoor (The Moor).


Susan Will look forward to your review of the second in this series. I had a few issues with it myself (don't read my review as it may contain some spoilers) so am curious as to what you think.


Hannah Susan wrote: "Will look forward to your review of the second in this series. I had a few issues with it myself (don't read my review as it may contain some spoilers) so am curious as to what you think."

I'm intrigued, Susan. Will definitely let you know what I think.


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