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The Initiation

(Lock and Key #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  885 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Bestselling author of Peter and the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson reimagines the origins of the epic rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty. Set in modern times and focusing on Moriarty's bone-chilling beginnings, this middle grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmesand the ...more
Published September 20th 2016 by HarperFestival
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Suzanne There is an ARC out now. Book on sale 10/10/17

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Richard Cardenas
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 STARS!

"The Da Vinci Code meets Elementary."

I was really looking forward to this one after seeing it on Goodreads a few months ago. I was interested in reading a retelling of Sherlock Holmes that had Sherlock and his arch-nemesis Moriarty both attending the same boarding school as young teens. After getting a hold of a copy, I had hyped myself up for this book and I really wish I hadn't. Don't get me wrong, it was a really fun and adventurous story but what made it not as exciting to me was
Brenda A
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-con-2016
This is my first Ridley Pearson book, and I'm not too impressed. Perhaps it's because he chose to write about such celebrated literary characters; the writing seemed too stunted and the characters were more like caricatures. Frankly, I have no idea how the whiny brat of a teenager Pearson has Moriarty portrayed as could end being the mastermind who Sherlock a run for his money. I was continuously told how smart James was but rarely did I see that intelligence put to use. More often than not I ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
2.5 stars - if I was being generous, I'd up it to 3 stars, but I had two problems:

1) Why make it contemporary if the children were still going to talk like formal Victorians? Maybe that's what rich white American kids normally sound like, but it sounded forced and not at all 21st century. Of course, Pearson tried to modernize it by dropping references to Snapchat (how many middle grade readers use Snapchat/what are they using it for??) and books like Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code (so random
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, 2018
Found this to be uneven. I enjoyed the setting and the subsequent mystery at Baskerville Academy with Holmes and the two Moriarty children but some of the talking about stuff, their knowledge or lack thereof or how they feel about certain things or how to proceed with solving the mystery lagged the book for me in places.

I also found that any scene without Holmes to be slightly less interesting than those with him. However, this probably will not keep me from reading the next book to see how
Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF @30%
2016; HarperCollins

I have read a Ridley Pearson's novel for adults so I thought I would try this one. It wasn't a bad book, it just didn't capture my attention. I think there is a movie/show based on this book.

***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss/NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***
Jacqueline Ogburn
Nov 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
A terrific idea, to explore what made James Moriarty into a criminal mastermind, but the execution fell flat. Told in an awkward combination of 1st person POV of little sister Moria Moriaty and third person, teenage James and his sister are sent to boarding school. James's roommate is Sherlock Holmes. She keeps telling us James is brilliant, but the only brilliance we see is Sherlock's. The character of James is never really revealed, and Sherlock outshines him, in analytic ability, arrogance, ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
As a middle grade reader, I loved Sherlock Holmes stories but often tired of the old-time settings. It was just the type of reader I was; I loved mysteries and puzzles, but tended more towards modern stories. The Initiation provides all the elements I love about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works and places them in the current era. Not completely, I must admit. There are some flowery passages that I would have skipped over in this book as a child, but the tale, its clues, and characters would have ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoyed this book, I felt it paled in comparison to Peter and the Starcatchers, and I honestly don't find myself likely to finish this series any time soon. It's cute, but not terribly memorable. I found the pace to be a bit slow, and overall this was just not a huge stunner for me.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Buxton
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
My name is Moria, and I've written this book about my troubled brother, James Moriarty. Our father has sent us to Baskerville Academy where we're fourth-generation legacies, descendants of the school's founder. Our family Bible is critically important to the school, and it's been stolen from its display. James has received clues regarding it, but he's become frustrated by the cryptic messages. However, his roommate Sherlock Holmes seems to have all the answers and has enlisted my help. Lock's ...more
Kelly RAley
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didnt realize that this was a modernized take on Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. The premise sounded interesting, however the book was not. The dialogue was forced. Then there were relationships where no good reason had been established for why a character was behaving as they were. If this was supposed to show Moriartys journey into darkness, it failed. In the originals, he is brilliant. In this sketch, he was not and even kind of bumbling. This author should have read some psychology texts on ...more
Cecilia Rodriguez
Aug 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Pearson modernizes Sherlock Holmes by shifting perspective
to James Moriarty.
The plot relies too heavily upon other sources, which Pearson
actually mentions within the story.
The characters are all flat and lack development.
Pearson does not use the setting well(Boston), nor does
he explain the change in location.
The actual mystery is weak and cliche.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lock and Key: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson was a great read and kept my interest throughout the whole thing with its unexpected twists. The book centers around the notorious James Moriarty, his little sister named Moria Moriarty, and Sherlock Holmes, who all attend the same school, Baskerville Academy. Lock and Key shows how James became the evil character that he is known as today. I would give this book five stars because it not only held my interest, but it kept me guessing as to what ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an interesting perspective on the ties that bind Sherlock and Moriarty. The narrator, James's sister, is spunky, smart, and loyal to her brother. Other reviewers stated that it was predictable and it was, BUT I am a 40 year old woman who read it, not the middle schooler it was intended for. I enjoyed getting to see a Sherlock who was not yet so aloof that human contact was almost beneath him, and a James that was confused and hurt and dealing with feelings of betrayal, but ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a middle grade reader, I loved Sherlock Holmes stories but often tired of the old time settings. It was just the type of reader I was; I loved mysteries and puzzles but tended more towards modern stories. The Initiation provides all the elements I loved about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works and places them in the current era. Not completely, I must admit. There are some flowery passages that I would have skipped over in this book but the tale and its clues and characters would have grabbed me. ...more
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This description informs you a lot about what the main idea is and has a little bit of spoilers

SHERLOCK HOLMES GOES TO BOARDING SCHOOL AND MEETS YOUNG MORIARTY BEFORE HE GOES ALL CRAZY AND SEMI EVIL!!! yes! I really like this book! I liked the plot and all the surprises! I like that James has a sister and was actually pretty nice and why he changed. I wish Mycroft was in it because he was only referenced like once. ALSO SHERLOCK AND JAMES ARE ROOMMATES! It was a really good mystery book and
Calliope van Poe
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I hate when I reread a book and it's not as good as I remember.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second re-imagining of the Holmes/Moriarty duo set in modern times that I have read in the past year. In this one, we meed James Moriarty and his sister Moria who get sent to Baskerville Academy for high school. James's roommate is Sherlock Holmes from London who is there on scholarship. James get messages with hidden clues and begins to follow them not realizing there may be danger ahead.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I did think it is a good middle grade level mystery.
Rachel Meyer
This is by far the strangest Sherlock Holmes retelling I've ever read. (And I've read a ton.) Just looking at that cover I thought it was going to be fantasy when I picked it up, but then the blurb was going on about Sherlock and Moriarty, so no. I had several problems with it-

It was contemporary. Which isn't a bad thing, as shows like Sherlock or books like Charlotte Holmes and Lock and Mori have shown us. But in this one I couldn't tell from the blurb or barely the first chapter that it was
Kathy Martin
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story moves Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty to high school in the present day. This story is told by James's younger sister Moria who seems just as smart and sneaky as James but with, perhaps, a stronger sense of morals and ethics.

James and Moria find themselves sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy but their somewhat remote father. James really doesn't want to go but his father insists as it is family tradition to attend. Moria wants to go anywhere where she can stay with
Paul Byrne
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
An extremely enjoyable take on a classic, time-worn story. Pearson joyfully takes the old Sherlock Holmes / James Moriarity dichotomy and spins it on its head.
He places the two young men as room-mates at a boarding school. First room-mates are always special relationships fraught with passion, pain, and respect. This goes a long way to explaining the relationship the two men later show in the traditional cannon.
It is also placed in current times making it more relatable to a modern audience of
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Enjoyment Rate: 4/5

I received this book from a giveaway, and because it was my first giveaway that I won, I was really excited to read this one. (I also didn't know that the author is the same one as Percy Jackson :D)

First, I absolutely love Sherlock Holmes in this book, he's so smart and awesome.
"Always like what? Myself? Then the friendships aren't worth making, dear Moria. Would you have me a chameleon, always changing myself to fit the color of those around me? To what
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not bad....had to remind myself it was present day though. Very good writing..characters are totally believable. I love books that tell you the prequel on how they became who they are!! Can't wait for the next ADVENTURE!! Happy Reading :)
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ridley Pearson brings us to a modern version of the beginnings of the infamous Sherlock Holmes and the malicious James Moriarity in the point of view of Ms. Moria Moriarity. This book was so fantastical that it is almost hard to put into words, but let try for you in the categories of Characters, Diction/Tone, and Plot.

CHARACTERS: This cast a small one, for I have no intention of spending to long on this category. Moria Moriarity is sister of, you guessed James Moriarity. As opposed to the
books are love
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fun take on how James becomes the evil one in the Sherlock Holmes series. What makes this interesting and twisty?

1. Told from Jamess sisters view

2. Baskerville Academy isnt all that it seems and James gets caught into the web and trying to protect his sister while becoming someone he isnt. I think this happens because of the loss and pain he feels. Also he is trying to live up to his father

3. By the time its realized what is happening, its too late for James I believe. I am hoping that
Sharon Craft Viall
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
James and Moriarty are sent of to a school that there ancestors built and went to. There Father is very secret about everything that he does. James meets his room mate and he is a very talkative person . He sticks his nose into James business. His name is Sherlock Holmes. Moria shortens his name to Lock which he does not like that a bit. There family bible is stolen and the whole school is looking for it. James gets clues and thinks that it to help find the bible, but soon find out it's not. ...more
Judine Brey
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The concept of updating Sherlock Holmes (and placing him in an American boarding school) as a teenager was intriguing to me. Fourteen-year-old Holmes is attending Baskerville Hall (no hounds on campus, however) and is assigned to room with fellow freshman. . . wait for it. . . James Moriarity. The two do not immediately click, and although a friendship of sorts is formed, it took the book too long to get there. I did like the fact that James ...more
Feb 27, 2020 added it
Shelves: books-11-20
This book is about James and his little sister Morias adventure to see what their father is up to and if he is a secret spy. He is a professor at the university and they thought that was it until one day he left with a suspicious bag and they had to know why he had it. The followed him after one of his classes into another town and realized they werent the only ones following him. Where he was going and why you may will have to read it and find out!

I like this book because while they
I'm not quite sure who the intended audience for this book is. The characters aren't very well developed, and really depend on the reader already being familiar with who Holmes and Moriarty will become as adults, but the book is marketed as and reads like your typical middle-grade novel. And yet I doubt your average ten-year-old has the necessary familiarity with Sherlock Holmes, while those older kids and adults who are well acquainted with Holmes and Moriarty will be disappointed by the level ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm waffling with how I feel about this book. It was a little difficult at first identifying exactly when the story was taking place. It should have been made clearer that it was a modern-day take on the Sherlock Holmes stories, as I probably didn't pick up on the clues until the second chapter. even exactly what the title of the series refers to is a little ambiguous for the first part of the book. Pearson does an excellent job capturing Sherlock's voice, but the Moriarty children seem like ...more
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Ridley Pearson is the author of more than fifty novels, including the New York Times bestseller Killer Weekend; the Lou Boldt crime series; and many books for young readers, including the award-winning children's novels Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, and Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, which he cowrote with Dave Barry. Pearson lives with his wife and two daughters, ...more

Other books in the series

Lock and Key (3 books)
  • The Downward Spiral (Lock and Key #2)
  • The Final Step (Lock and Key #3)

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