C.G. Drews's Reviews > A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
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Sep 06, 2015

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bookshelves: 3-star, read-2016, young-adult, retelling, thriller-crime

I'm a massive fan of Sherlock. ALL THE SHERLOCK. TV shows, movies, and I've read some of the actual books too despite being terrified of classics (go me!!)...so I basically went into A Study in Charlotte like an abnormally excited goose waiting for glory. I...was disappointed. The book wasn't bad, pfft, don't get me wrong. The book is fine. But I felt meh a lot and there were a lot of things that made me squint.

Let's get the squinty things out the way first:

• In this universe, Arthur Conan Doyle DID write the books...but also Sherlock and Watson are not fictional characters. SAY WUT. My brain didn't really understand how that connected. Plus it wasn't ever explained.

• The mystery is interesting and all...but it features a) the dreadful villain info-dump at the end which is so cliche, and b) info dumps everywhere all the time. Argh.

• It really underlines the drug addiction canon!Sherlock had, and Charlotte Holmes struggles with it too. But...she just uses, and, the book doesn't really decided what we're supposed to do with that information. Like, drugs are bad, kids, don't do drugs. But no one really seemed to think they needed to help Charlotte. It was just "Poor Charlotte, doomed to be addicted to drugs because the original Sherlock Holmes was". HOW ABOUT WE TRY AND HELP THIS KID AND GET HER SORTED OUT?!?!? Also at the end (view spoiler). I ain't happy.

But I did like other things about the book! I DID. It's definitely not a bad read. It's has a good mystery that I didn't solve at all, not even a little, and it's nicely paced. Like there are moments for pancakes and bacon, and moments of bombs and murder. I DO SO LOVE THAT KIND OF PACING.

And Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson? They were great! I didn't like Watson so much because a) James is Moriarty's name so why does he have it!?!??! and b) he was like this rugby dude with the "I am angry. I must punch a thing" and that always turns me off. He just wasn't very smart. Charlotte was very smart, but she did seem to be just...Sherlock. Like I expected a twist?! But she kept all the personalities and mannerisms and...yeah. Bit disapointed at that too. But they were still interesting and dimensional characters that I liked reading about!

Another thing I'm a teeny tiny bit disappointed about? It didn't feel new. This is a YA Sherlock retelling. I WANTED SOMETHING NEW. I loved Every Breath and that managed to make Sherlock soooo different and unique and put twists on everything. But not A Study in Charlotte. I also fail to see how just because your family does something, means you'll turn out EXACTLY like them. Yeah, genes do play a part. Like if addiction runs in the family, you're more likely to fall to it. I do get that. But what was the odds that Watson's great-great-great (not sure how many great) grandson wanted to be a writer and a doctor? And aaaall his fathers/grandfathers before him did the same? REALLY NOW?

Anyway. I'm pleased there is a genderbent Sherlock retelling.

I AM PLEASED THIS BOOK CONTAINS BACON. And interesting characters. And explosions.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2015 – Shelved
September 6, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 1, 2016 – Started Reading
January 1, 2016 –
10.0% "Okaaaaaay, so in this world, Arthur Conan Doyle existed in the past and wrote about Sherlock and Watson....who ALSO existed as actual people.. And now have descendants.\n Dude. You gotta pick. You cannot have both reality and fiction like this."
January 1, 2016 –
63.0% "Soooo Holmes sees a person wearing white shoelaces and that means person hasn't had a girlfriend in 3 years.\n WHAT KIND OF DEDUCING IS THIS, MAY I ASK????????\n description"
January 1, 2016 – Shelved as: 3-star
January 1, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
January 1, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 1, 2016 – Shelved as: retelling
January 1, 2016 – Shelved as: thriller-crime
January 1, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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message 1: by Skye (new) - added it

Skye 'I am pleased this book contains Bacon.' This is why I read your reviews. The food, you always mention the food.


C.G. Drews I DO. I basically feel it's my job in the universe to mention what foods a book features. *nods sagely*


message 3: by Skye (new) - added it

Skye Cait Grace wrote: "I DO. I basically feel it's my job in the universe to mention what foods a book features. *nods sagely*"

Ha ha, I think it is, you are the only person I know who does it, and does it well.


message 4: by Simona (new)

Simona Bartolotta Sorry it was not as good as expected, but also please it's not a total failure! I just hope edelweiss accept my request >.<
And thank you for recommending Every Breath, I'd never heard it but it sounds great. I'll definitely check it out sooner or later.
Beautiful review :)


C.G. Drews @Simona: Yes Every Breath is INCREDIBLE. It's also Australian, but I think they published it in the US? Maybe UK too? BUT EITHER WAY ENORMOUS FEELS. *nods* And I hope you like A Study in Charlotte more than I did. ;D


Kate I. Foley Holy wow, didn't even think about the name James before now! How did no one in editing catch that??? And absentee adults, omggggg. *whacks them upside the head* So many problems could be avoided if an adult just clued in every once in a while.


message 7: by S (new) - rated it 3 stars

S I thought in this universe Watson wrote all the books and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was his agent or something. I think it's mentioned somewhere around the beginning of the book, if I'm not mistaken?


Miranda I just posted my review of this book too. I came to read others and found that we seem to share the same thoughts on this book! I thought I was the only one lost on the 'what is Doyles and Watson's role in who wrote these stories'.


message 9: by Taylor (new)

Taylor yeah


Carlisa Cramer The Holmes stories were written by Watson, whose literary agent was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


message 11: by Emma Jones (new)

Emma Jones You go, Cait Grace!!!!!!!!!!! I too love Sherlock EVERYTHING!!!!!


message 12: by Emma Jones (new)

Emma Jones Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a genius!


message 13: by Roberta (new)

Roberta If you think Sir ACD was a genius, do not under any circumstances read his bio.


Hayden Random note, but they probably gave Watson the name James because ACD could be a rather inconsistent individual and referred to the original Watson as both "John" and "James" in the stories.

Anyway, I'm a little on the fence about whether or not I'll read this one, but if I do at least I'll know what I'm getting into. ;)


Nouf *LostinFantasy* Awesome review! I'm so torn over whether to read this or not. I always get excited over new Sherlock retellings (thank you Sherlock bbc). I looooved the book "Every Breath", too. I wanted this to be as good. I might give it a try, since you say the mystery is worth it.


Janet Martin It's a kid book--YA! It works wonderfully well in that genre and doesn't deserve to be compared to the adult material in the giant field of Sherlockiana


message 17: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Janet: That makes no sense to me. It's a retelling of Sherlock? Ergo of course it'll be compared because that's why it exists.


Janet Martin It's not a "retelling" but an original YA novel about descendants of the original characters


message 19: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Janet: I think that's the definition of a retelling: spinning a story off another one! Plus it can't be original if it's based off someone else's (aka Arthur Conan Doyle's) characters and book! Without Doyle's work, this book couldn't exist.


Brooklyn Tayla Cool review! I'm obsessed with everything Sherlock too! :D


message 21: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Brooklyn: Yay thankyou! :D Sherlock is intense AWESOMENESS.


Brooklyn Tayla You're welcome! :D yes it is and the wait for season 5 of Sherlock will be the death of me -_-


message 23: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Brooklyn: WE WILL ALL BE DEAD OF OLD AGE BEFORE IT COMES OUT. ;_;


message 24: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan Ahhh! I was so looking forward to reading this... maybe I should give it a miss?? But SHERLOCK. What to do? (Great review, btw :D)


Brooklyn Tayla We will! Cait, I bet Steven and Mark are so satisfied with our angst :'(


message 26: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Megan: It's not a bad book, per se, just didn't live up to my expectations at all. *sighs* But you might like it!!

@Brooklyn: YES THEY ARE SO EVIL OMG.


message 27: by Janet (last edited Jun 19, 2016 05:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Janet Martin Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Janet: I think that's the definition of a retelling: spinning a story off another one! Plus it can't be original if it's based off someone else's (aka Arthur Conan Doyle's) characters and book! Wi..."

I am going to disagree with you about spin off and retelling. While the original work inspires both and the creativity can be equal in either type (good or bad, depending) spinoff branches out to new situations using characters which either played minor parts in the original of are completely new in the established matrix while a retelling attempts to stay consistent with the original plot, basing characters on the originals. Then we get to a category I characterize as inspirations--tales inspired by the original works but using both fresh characters and plots.

My original comment had to do with lumping juvenile and ya books with adult material. I don't think that books for those with less reading experience and knowledge of the canon need to compete on an adult level with stuff meant for adults. Plots for juvenile readers tend to be simpler and characters less nuanced, and ought not to be castigated for the simple fact of satisfying a target audience.


em_is_reading tbh the book trailer was amazing because great music and aesthetic and, yes, pretty actress with British accent (I am a weak bean) but the book seems kind of implausible for a lot of the reasons you mentioned, Cait. (sorry this comment is a million years late, btw)


message 29: by C.G. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.G. Drews @Janet: That's fair. We can each have our own opinions. :) I'm of the very firm opinion that teen readers are very intelligent and can understand and process adult literature (in this instance; the original Doyle stories are not complex at all) and I'm opposed to YA being simplified. (Plus this particularly story deals with drug use...which is a heavy topic and one I don't think was handled deeply enough.) And I think it's also fair to remember everyone's opinions on books will differ because literature is subjective and that's completely fine!

@EmkayReads: Don't be sorry. XD It's not a book for everyone but I know tons of people did enjoy it. I do recommend Every Breath as a far superior YA Sherlock retelling if you're interested. *nods*


Alexandra Juszczyk Oh they do explain the books and people being a thing, it was Watson not Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote this universe's Sherlock books. Otherwise I agree with your opinions about the whole everyone ends up like past family members.


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