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review 2017-11-08 03:54
Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas

The second Lady Sherlock novel, and even better than the first. I adored this. I stayed up too late three nights in a row reading it. One night, I fell asleep reading it and hit myself in the face with my Kindle.


The prose is lovely. All the characters are well realized and wonderful to read about. And the mystery is so much fun to follow along with. 


And the conclusion. Oh my, every scene in the last act is dynamite. Such a delight to read!


I really want to see a BBC adaptation of this, one book per series. Or a visual novel adaptation on my iPad. Something to take all the clothing and food descriptions off the page and into beautiful visuals for a solid story with great characters.

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review 2017-09-29 15:46
A Great Continuation
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas

After loving the first Lady Sherlock mystery so much, I knew I had to pick this one up sooner than later and I am thrilled to say it didn't disappoint. I do believe I rated "A Study in Scarlet Women" 5/5 but even at a slightly lower rating, "A Conspiracy in Belgravia" is still a solidly enjoyable installment.

Charlotte Holmes is still living with her new friend, Mrs. Watson and together they are still solving mysteries as "Sherlock Holmes." Charlotte is being courted by a familiar face, Lord Ingram's brother, and to prove that marriage to him won't be boring, he gifts her with some clues and mysteries to decipher. One of these clues leads her to a deceased young man who may or may not be Charlotte's illegitimate brother. In addition, she has been hired by Lady Ingram, the wife of Charlotte's one true love (if she ever has such a thing because Charlotte definitely does not NEED a man in her life and clearly realizes it) to find out what has happened to her first love. Can Charlotte investigate this disappearance and remain loyal to her friend, Lord Ingram, at the same time.

While I loved this book, it did take a while for it all to weave together. Initially there are quite a few mysteries afoot and while they did all eventually tie in together, it did cause some early confusion for me. However, Charlotte and Mrs. Watson are as interesting as ever and I loved Charlotte's independence and stubbornness and the fact that she doesn't feel the need to change in order to fit anyone's stereotype of how she should act. 

I am really loving Victorian and historical mysteries and it's a genre I didn't really see myself reading several years ago. The first book was superb and this one doesn't disappoint either. If you like Sherlock Holmes retellings, you really should give Sherry Thomas' series a try.

I received this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


I will be using this for the Terrifying Women square on my 2017 Halloween Bingo.

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review 2017-09-24 13:57
Letdown of an ending.
The Immortal Heights (Elemental Trilogy) - Sherry Thomas

So, here we are at the end of another adventure. Iolanthe and Titus are now joined by friends and allies for one Final Battle vs. the Bane with lives at stake, a prophecy to fulfill and the fate of the world resting in the balance. But the Bane has a twist. Titus must give up Iolanthe to the Bane or it is the end of the world as we know it. You know, as is standard with these epic YA fantasy trilogies. 


Anyway, I had hoped that after book 2 this book might pick up a bit more and in a way it does. Thankfully the strange split perspective was not repeated and this is more in the vein of the storytelling style of book one. And we are plunged right into the action but unfortunately a lot doesn't really "happen" until the closer to the climax of the book. We've got a few twists and turns, bits and pieces of plot twists, info dump on the Bane and how he came to exist, etc. 


In some ways the book felt like it was a bit too rushed and yet not that much happened. Thomas's books tend to be slow in build-up and sometimes are slow overall but I just couldn't help but feel that there wasn't enough material for three books (hence what is basically rehashing of the love story in book 2) and yet there was too much saved for this last book (sacrifices, information revealing motives, origins, etc.). This might have made for a better duology than stretched out as trilogy. I also wanted more elemental magic. I was also partially right in how they managed to fulfill one of the prophecies while not actually doing so. It was a bit disappointing that I was on the right track for the device used, even if it didn't quite happen the way I thought it would.


But I will say I was glad Thomas didn't force a love triangle. Too many YA books use that as a crutch or plot device and I'm glad we didn't have any nonsense with these Iolanthe and Titus. Arguably this device was transferred to some of the secondary characters but it wasn't a major plot point to take up much space. There was also a bit of throw-ins mentioning some LGBT relationships that just felt a bit tacked-on for no reason whatsoever.


Overall a mixed bag and I'll probably make it a point to borrow her books from now on instead of buying. But this was something a little different and I enjoyed the ride.

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review 2017-09-23 14:19
Slow to get going and strange format.
The Perilous Sea - Sherry Thomas

Here we are in book 2 of the Elemental trilogy. After the triumph of killing off the Bane in book one our protagonists (Titus and Iolanthe) return to Eton to once again continue training, navigate being school and try to untangle what could be a kink. Titus believed that Iolanthe was the one who would help in his mission and had invested a lot of time, effort and emotion in that goal. If Iolanthe is not, how does this change things for him? For her? For their mission?


Once again Thomas's text is very slow to get going and it took me awhile to settle into it. I suppose I had forgotten this style from her other books I've read plus that as part of a trilogy I had thought that we'd be right in the middle of things (it IS the middle entry, after all!). Not quite. The book takes a bizarre format where we are viewing events in both the past and the present. Initially I had a few different theories as to what we were seeing (that forgot we're viewing events at different times) and initially really liked the scenes in the desert. But once it became clearer what it was (a sloppy device to give the love story some juice) it grew to bore me. This was entirely unnecessary as a device and really ended up just taking up space. It made me wonder if the author didn't have enough material for the middle section.


At while at first I wasn't as excited by the events in the present, it became more interesting once we had a few plot twists/developments and the story really started coming together. There is a bit of info-dumping that could have been better spread out or handled (in retrospect it would have been better to delete the desert scenes entirely and set everything at Eton) but I was willing to go along with this and see where exactly the author is taking us.


I also wish there had been more elemental magic along the lines of Jim Dresden's 'Codex Alera' series or the 'Avatar'/'Korra' cartoons. That was whole reason why I picked up this trilogy and so I was a bit disappointed that this entry (first book as well) really didn't have that much. Here's to hoping Book 3 has more.


Overall it wasn't as good as the first one but I'm still interested in the series overall and appreciate how Thomas has written a variety of works. I bought this with a coupon and didn't mind, although perhaps a library borrow would have been better instead.

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review 2017-09-10 13:57
First entry shows promise!
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy) - Sherry Thomas

Decided it was time to switch things up a bit and read something a little different. Had this book for awhile now and decided it was time to finally read up on it. As a fan of the 'Avatar: the Last Airbender' and 'The Legend of Korra' as well as enjoying Jim Dresden's 'Codex Alera' series this trilogy that has elemental magic seemed like a good option.


Iolanthe is a young woman who has been living her life doing magic with a drunk guardian when she is plunged into an adventure where she must destroy the Bane, a tyrant who seeks to control all. She meets Prince Titus, the ruler (in name, really) of the land and who needs Iolanthe to defeat the Bane to restore peace to the land as foreseen by his mother's visions.


Admittedly typing that out made it sound like a cliched, well-worn trope-filled story and it is. It's not a story that hasn't been done before and admittedly Thomas' entry isn't exactly a unique take. But all the same I found myself enjoying the story anyway. There are familiar aspects to this (romance between Iolanthe and Titus, training sequences, can the two main characters learn to trust each other) but all the same it was still a pleasant adventure. I enjoyed the sequences where Iolanthe must play Titus's male classmate (he had actually been expecting a young man).


That said, I understand the criticisms. The world-building isn't great (there's no map!) the elemental magic isn't as well-defined as say it is in Dresden's books or the Avatar universe and I could have really done without the romance.The romance was subtle (it's also limited to looks and thoughts and occasional kisses but as a YA series it doesn't go further than that) but it's never my cup of tea. The book is also quite slow. Having read a few other of Thomas's books (including her historical romances and the first in the Charlotte Holmes series) I could see this book would be somewhat similar--more focus on the characters and not so much on the action.


Still, I liked it. I suppose it's really a 3.5 star book but I decided to round up. I had been put off by some of the negative reviews and experience from her previous work but I think recognizing it's quite different from her other writings in terms of genre (YA, fantasy) helped. This won't be the next great YA trilogy but as a mashup of the Avatar universe with the latter part of the Harry Potter series (where Hogwarts and schooling became less of a focus) I enjoyed it. I bought this first book and will likely buy the next two as they're relatively cheap and in paperback but the library is probably a better option for others.

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