Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
In this conclusion to the intricately layered steampunk trilogy The Baskerville Affair Evelina Cooper, niece to Sherlock Holmes, is studying at university, which is just what she wanted but there’s a huge catch. Those bracelets on her arms may look fashionable but they have sinister purposes, preventing Evelina from practicing magic and separating her from family and friends by trapping her on campus to serve the whims of one of London’s power hungry steam barons.
Having circus performers on one side of her family and the Holmes brothers on the other, Evelina has an unusual, sometimes unruly, mix of talents--brains, nimble strength, mechanical aptitude, and a growing ability to do magic--that make her valuable and vulnerable. Though featuring Evelina this series is like a densely woven tapestry with lots of plot-lines and multiple points of view and it adds to the books’ richness that so many characters are important to the story. Along with the people and creatures we’ve already met, Moriarty and a supernatural baskerville hound make appearances in this final book.
A Study in Ashes had me glued to the page but, while I love the series, the experience of this last book wasn’t always comfortable. I doubt it was meant to be. When it opens a year has passed since the end of the second book, but almost all the characters readers care about are in the same dire circumstances they were when the previous book concluded--imprisoned or enslaved or presumed dead or even all of the above. And then things start to get even worse, including revolution in the streets with diabolical steampunk weapons and sometimes involving more horror than I usually read.
When events are finally wrapped up the ending is upbeat with caveats. I didn’t get every happy ending I hoped for, but what there is felt well earned. Circumstances are left with enough loose strings to be interesting and keep me thinking about the story. . . maybe leaving the door open for another book? I hope so.