Rebecca's Reviews > Death Cloud

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane
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Feb 20, 12

bookshelves: adventure, children, historical, mystery, young-adult
Read in February, 2012

Sherlock Holmes, aged 14, is unexpectedly and unwillingly bundled off to stay with an unknown aunt and uncle during the school holidays, when his father is deployed to India and his mother is indisposed. Although prepared for two months of abject boredom, Holmes soon meets Mattie Arnott and Amias Crow. Mattie, who is alone in the world, saw something bizarre and terrifying--a dark cloud, that seemed to have a mind of its own, emerging from a window, followed by screams of death. Amias Crow, an American hired to be Sherlock's tutor, starts teaching him how to think--and track. Sherlock will need the help of both Mattie and Amias, and Crow's beautiful daughter Virginia, to solve--and survive--a deadly mystery involving an enigmatic baron and some brutal and even more enigmatic deaths.

This is young Sherlock Holmes meets young James Bond in an action-packed tale approved by the Conan-Doyle estate. I thoroughly enjoyed it, mostly because it had the feel of a Conan-Doyle plot (with a bit of the aforementioned Bond)--a bit gothic, a bit creepy, and more than a bit unbelievable. I did think it was too violent, though, and every chapter or so (after the first few chapters) had Sherlock in mortal danger, which did get a bit old. At least the mortal dangers were interesting, though, as were the characters, and Holmes is definitely far from perfect--arrogant and thoughtless and too eager to plunge into danger and risk everyone's lives because he has a hunch. Is he a character that could grow into the canon Holmes? At this point, I'm not sure--he's a bit too human and open and friendly. It makes him more likeable, but not necessarily canon. He'll appeal to kids, though.
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