This book fell onto my radar thanks to Angie’s (Angieville) and Caits’s (Paper Fury) reviews and both of them were so complimentary and effusive in their praise that I simply had to get hold of a copy for myself, so this one is totally on you two. And thankfully this book more than lived up to all those high expectations I went in it with.
I am a big fan of the BBC Sherlock – I love the way the stories translate to a modern day setting, so the idea of another modern day exploration of Sherlock was an excellent starting point. Add in that ‘Watson’ is a girl called Rachel Watts, ‘Holmes’ is a teenage genius who lives two doors down called James Mycroft, the fact that their chemistry and friendship is off the charts and it’s both brilliant and set in Australia and quite frankly: be still my beating heart. (Tiny side note of glee for fans of the original books, I giggled like a little crazed thing whenever anyone called Watts Rache, because Study in Scarlet. Detail.)
This book is genius, basically. Watts and Mycroft are one of my favourite pairings in fiction ever. Which is a truly incredible feat. Their friendship is such a strong foundation and they work so brilliantly together that I would have been happy were they only ever friends. However the chemistry between them is truly electric, and I absolutely adored the slow build of tension between them throughout the story. They just work so well together. Watts is neither stupid nor bumbling. She may not put the pieces together at the same speed as Mycroft (really, who could?) but she’s methodical and sharp and attentive and is an equal half of the partnership rather than a documenter of Mycroft’s genius.
Whilst there is plenty of attention paid to Mycroft and his delectable brilliance (yes I have a fiction crush, how did you guess?) the real heart and soul of the story is Watts. She is such an incredible protagonist. Told from her point of view the story is very firmly grounded with her at the centre, and she holds firm against the overwhelming tidal wave that is Mycroft. Some characters would get lost against his brightness, but she is grounded and sure of herself and she provides the heart, soul and humour that turns this from a good book into a brilliant book.
I also loved that this isn’t a Sherlock and John story, they are never playing at being them, there are plenty of references to the Conan Doyle stories. It’s played as simply an amusing coincidence rather than anything else and it works brilliantly. It allows the story and characters the space to breathe and become their own, whilst still giving a sly wink and nod at Conan Doyle’s characters – the perfect blend.
The murder mystery is also brilliantly handled, so that whilst they are two teenagers sleuthing around trying to fit the pieces together and catch the murderer, it never felt ridiculous or unrealistic. The motives and thought process behind it all made sense. I never once questioned it or felt that it was ridiculous what they were trying to do. And I loved the varied reactions of the adults around them when confronted with their super sleuthing, plus their general awesome pairing.
Admittedly I did know who the murderer was as soon as they were introduced – I think I may have read one too many murder mysteries that I can now spot them a mile away. But for once I wasn’t frustrated by the knowledge, the story was so good that I just got swept up in it, and the thrill of the chase and desperate climax were superb.
It’s a brilliant debut – wonderfully paced, with two incredibly real and vivid characters who tugged me into their world and brought me racing breathlessly after the murderer with them. I fell for Watts and Mycroft completely and I cannot wait to see where they go next in the sequel “Every Word”....more
I adored the first book in this series so much that it made me nervousThis review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
I adored the first book in this series so much that it made me nervous to read the second one, just in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. However when I read the second one a couple of weeks ago it more than lived up to the high standards set and left me with none of the reservations I’d had about launching straight into the third and final book of the trilogy. Sadly, I really wish it had.
There is an awful lot to love in the conclusion to this thrilling series, but unfortunately there were quite a few elements that really didn’t work for me. One of the things I loved so much about the first two books is that Mycroft and Rache never exceed the limitations around them being teenagers and having limited resources/power. Adults got involved in the situations where necessary and I loved that extra element of realism that is so often missing from YA crime fiction. Not so in this book. Suddenly our heroes find themselves in utterly ridiculous situations and insane stand offs that jarred me and felt thoroughly unrealistic and left me thoroughly frustrated.
I could probably forgive that were it not for the two other big issues that marred the enjoyment. Firstly a love triangle is introduced. For no reason. With no real build up or explanation and Rachel suddenly starts acting completely out of character and flirting back with this new guy. I get that she’s having problems with Mycroft following the events of the second book, and I get that she’s suffering from PTSD, but this seemed so thoroughly out of the blue, out of character and completely ridiculous. I frequently found myself frustrated with Rachel’s sudden obsession with the new boy and it didn’t make any real sense.
Then the third frustration, and this was enough to make me put the book down and walk away for a few days. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to pick it up again and finish it. Mycroft and Rachel work out who the big bad is, but then instead of being logical or even remotely like their usual coherent selves, Rachel fires off an angry email telling the person that they know who they, everything they’ve done and she and Mycroft have all the evidence they need.
I’m sorry, what?!
Not even a remotely good idea, and it sets off the truly awful chain of events that topples down in the second half of the book. Now yes ok, I get that Rachel is angry and hurt and stressed and upset and has had enough of being terrified because of other people. But come on SOME COMMON SENSE PLEASE. It is a completely out of character move that puts everyone in danger and for NO REASON AT ALL.
It was just so frustrating and ridiculous and not like Rachel at all. Add to that the problems with the love triangle and some highly suss behaviour on Rachel’s part and my love for her was basically in shreds by the end of the book.
A lot of the elements I loved about the first two books were still there – good writing, fast paced plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I also loved seeing Rachel’s PTSD tackled, although it felt a little like a couple of hugs and it went away which was also frustrating.
However all the love I felt for those things was horribly over shadowed by the problems I’ve outlined above. I adored this series, I fell in love with these characters, I swooned over them, I cried over them, I stayed up all night reading their nail biting stories, and this final instalment felt like a complete let down after that.
By all means go and see the brilliance of the first two books, but be warned going into this one that it has quite a few problems by comparison and might leave you wishing that you’d stopped after book two....more
Earlier this year I read the first book in this trilogy ‘Every Breath’This review was written for The Review Diaries You can read the full review here
Earlier this year I read the first book in this trilogy ‘Every Breath’ and was blown away by the sheer brilliance. You would think then that having loved the book so much I would have leaped straight into the second – that would have been logical I hear you cry. Instead I decided to flail and stress that the brilliance of the first book wouldn’t be caught quite so spectacularly in the second thus destroying my hopes and dreams and leaving me a sobbing mess for the brilliance that might have been. So I waited, and I procrastinated, and I read other books.
And then the two wonderful people who got me onto this series in the first place read the second book and both of them were effusive in their praise of how good it was, so I finally told the panicked voices in my head to shut up, and FINALLY I read it.
And you know what? IT WAS SO GOOD.
Never did I think I would be so smitten with a teenage take on the Holmes and Watson set up, but Ellie not only writes believable and fascinatingly complex characters, she puts them into fantastic, well-paced plots and then she hurts my babies. But it is so good and so well done that I don’t care about the terror and the weeping and the general pain and angst that occurred for me whilst reading it. Basically Ellie can rip my heart out with brilliant writing and I will simply beg her for more.
Everything that I loved about the first book was back in abundance – fast paced and engrossing plot, steamy sexual tension between the two leads, and clever workings of details from the various other incarnations of Holmes we’ve seen. Ellie is astoundingly talented at weaving in little details (some more obvious than others) and leaving the reader to notice them. It’s cleverly done and a huge source of satisfaction whilst reading to pick up on them.
This book felt much darker than the first, Ellie isn’t afraid to really hurt Mycroft and Rache, and some of the darkest scenes were horrifyingly realistic and believable. I stormed through the book, feverishly ripping through the pages because I simply had to know what happened next. I couldn’t put it down.
The writing is fantastic, and it was wonderful to have a change of setting and have the majority of this book set in London. Ellie really captures the feel of the city, and so many little pieces of England and British culture that help you to feel like you’re really there. It was also great to see Mycroft in his home element, to see him slide from boy next door into an English boy – as Rachel notes, suddenly you don’t just know that he’s English you see it. See how he fits in in these surroundings much more smoothly than he does in Australia, and it’s subtle and incredibly well done. We uncover a lot more of Mycroft’s backstory, and I loved having each new piece of information trickle out, seeing it through the filter of Rachel’s eyes and thoughts as she tries to deal not only with the murder case, but Mycroft’s rapid tailspin as events unfold. Rache is such a fantastic protagonist and she really holds her own against Mycroft, no easy feat when he is such a vibrant and fascinating character who is ever present, infusing every page, even when he’s halfway across the world.
I also love, as I did with the first book, that you never forget that these are two teenagers. There are no moments where you want to tear at your hair in frustration because adults are incompetent and Mycroft and Rache are doing things that no teen would realistically do. Yes they are put into extreme circumstances and as a result they’re forced to adapt and do things they otherwise wouldn’t, but it never felt ridiculous or overblown – something that a lot of YA novels never quite manage to achieve.
All in all this is a fantastic second instalment in the trilogy. It more than lives up to the high expectations set by the first book and has left me desperate to get straight into the third book. I love this series, I love Ellie’s writing, but most of all I adore Mycroft and Rache. If you’ve read the first book and are hesitant about getting into the second, don’t be. And if you haven’t yet discovered this series, do so now. Sherlock as the boy next door? Be still my beating heart....more