DNF Review: A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

Monday, February 10, 2014
Title: A Study in Silks 
Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Genre: steampunk, mystery
Series: The Baskerville Affair #1
Pages: 531
Publication: September 24th 2013
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 2/5

Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?

Reviewed by Danielle

Evalina Cooper is Sherlock Holmes’ niece in a steampunk London where there is also magic, but that’s illegal. Steam is pretty illegal too, because all the steam is controlled by the steam barons, particularly the Gold King, who’s embroiled in his own trouble with missing Greek artifacts. Evalina’s staying with the family of her girlfriend, Imogen, who has a mysterious illness and is trying to find a husband during the London Season. Evalina is trying to balance her past as a poor circus performer and her present as a gentile lady. This is best encapsulated by her love triangle between Imogen’s elder brother, Tobias, who secretly makes steam inventions, and Nick, a magic wielding knife thrower she grew up with in the circus. Meanwhile, servants are turning up dead in the middle of the night, with magic residue clinging to them, and a dark magician skulks around with a secret connecting to Tobias’ alcoholic father’s past and…

And that’s just a spoiler free summary of where I stopped reading, around the 215th page mark.

I’m in absolute shock that there can already be three books in the series, because this book reads like every idea the author has ever had was included. That’s not to say A Study in Silks is badly written; there are a lot of good ideas. But it’s too much. It’s too long. Too many side plots. Too many points of view, ( seven!) You could combine steampunk and magic into a great book. People can, (and have,) combined steampunk and Sherlock Holmes. You could even combine Sherlock and magic, but all three? And a love triangle? And a beta romance? And a political subplot?

If ASiS was 300 pages of just Evalina narrating the mystery of Grace’s death, well, I wouldn’t have abandoned it. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Everyone says it gets better around 80-85% through, but I shouldn’t have to try that hard for something that’s supposed to be fun. 

1 comment:

  1. I saw these pop up on Edelweiss and I was so tempted but had a funky feeling. Apparently that funnky feeling means that it's not worth it. Sorry this one didn't work out for you!


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