Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review: The Dark Lady (Sherlock, Lupin, and Me #1)

Release Date: January 1, 2014
Author: Irene Adler
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Length: 240 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley

While on summer vacation, little Irene Adler meets a young William Sherlock Holmes. The two share stories of pirates and have battles of wit while running wild on the sunny streets and rooftops.

When Sherlock's friend, Lupin, joins in on the fun, they all become fast friends. But the good times end abruptly when a dead body floats ashore on the nearby beach.

The young detective trio will have to put all three of their heads together to solve this mystery.



Protagonist: This book tells the tale of a young Irene as she meets and makes friends with Sherlock Holmes and Arsene Lupin, long before their great destinies have come to pass. Irene is a head-strong girl who doesn't want to spend her vacation cooped up at home only doing things her mother approves of. Instead she find herself in the midst of a mystery involving a dead castaway and a missing necklace. I really like the character of Irene, she's not one to be pushed around and she tends to do just what she wants regardless of the rules. What I loved though is that she never came off as a tomboy, she embraces her femininity while at the same time being a strong, albeit stubborn character.

World-Building: So, I'm no expert on Sherlockian lore, but I do enjoy a good Sherlock inspired story here and there. This one is particularly interesting as it shows a young Sherlock friends with two characters who will one day become the thieves and criminals whose crimes he'll be trying to solve. However in this tale they are just three kids with a thirst for adventure and mysteries. There isn't all that much world-building in this book, other than learning a bit about each characters' families we also see, from time to time, references from Adler about the futures of each of these characters.

Predictability: So this section is pretty much going to be all about the mystery within this book. On the whole I found the mystery rather unimpressive, though I'm saying that as a 23 year old man, and definitely not someone in the intended audience for this book. However I just wish that the foreshadowing was done better, that the pieces of the mystery were easier to follow and piece together. Instead as the reader I was just sort of expected to follow the story and when this just sort of come out of the blue I had to just accept it and move on. However I was rather impressed when the final pieces of the mystery came into place because while the results came rather out of the blue they were interesting nonetheless.

Ending: So this book reads a lot like a standalone. In fact if I didn't know it was a series I would have expected this to be the only book. Everything gets wrapped up, and I seriously do mean everything. Every small mystery, every tiny piece of contusion is cleared up. The only things that even hints at more than one book in this series is the final line of the book which could refer to their respective futures as much as another installment in this series.


So this was really hard to rate. On the one hand it was a fun and enjoyable read that didn't take all that long to get through. On the other hand though, there wasn't all that much substance there. In the end I decided to take into account that this was a Middle Grade book and cut it a little slack. Regardless, I do hope to one day continue this series.


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