TW: VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AND WOMEN, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE, ALCOHOLISM
I think many people went into this book expecting more of BBC's Sherlock or the original Arthur Conan Doyle's books, and they weren't happy with the result.
Sherlock is indeed like Elementary and BBC's Sherlock but, thankfully, we never have to look at Bennyhill Chasemusic's face throughout the book, so I actually liked the character 100% more than I like BBC's Sherlock (which is 0%, as you can tell by doing the maths). I just pictured him as a young Jeremy Brett, by far my favourite of all Sherlock Holmes.
The one I REALLY loved in this book was Mori! She was clever, though not in an alienating way towards her peers (like Sherlock was), she cared and protected her brothers, she cared about her friend Sadie Mae. ...And she cared about little else.
We always get these mildly sociopathic male protagonists - House, Sherlock, etc. - but we seldom get the sociopathic female, though when we do... they're the best! Who doesn't like *SUPER SPOILER* from Gone Girl? Who doesn't like Alice from Luther? It's much more intriguing because these female characters are always written as being able to fake their personality and immerse themselves in society with none the wiser, while their male counterparts go out of their way to let everyone know they despise them.
So onto the plot, this isn't a full 5 stars because I believe anyone could guess the whole "whodunnit" from the earlier chapters, but the story was still compelling.
We have Mori, who has lost her mother and seen her life fall apart when her policeman father turns to drinking and starts beating her and her brothers.
Mori who is looking for a way out. Mori who has lost any belief in the system after having every attempt to ask for help end up with her father's police friends quieting everything up. Mori who wants to get rid of her father but wants to find a way to do it without negatively impacting her brothers' lives.
Then there's Sherlock. He's basically Sherlock from BBC, only younger, and less rude, and more aware of his social incompetence, so I guess more like Elementary’s Sherlock... And he's all for "the game's afoot!" and turning everything into a competition, as if people's lives are a game that needs solving the whys and hows, but he then loses interest as soon as he's figured them out.
I liked that difference between Sherlock and Mori. I liked how, when he pulled her into the game, she saw everything he saw but also the vulnerability, how the others were human beings worthy of respect and privacy, how their pains weren't a game - even if she felt little for them.
I've seen quite a lot of reviews complaining about insta-love, and I have to say, though rather quick, it seemed natural to me. It's difficult being an outsider, so it's easy to form an attachment to someone who's even a little like you. It's easy to cling to someone who's witnessing you at your most vulnerable. It's normal and human to form bonds while going through adrenaline filled situations.
The romance itself wasn't the focus, with the story focusing mainly on the plot, so it was okay. And I loved how they were so happy and proud when the other one was particularly brilliant!
I really liked the whole theme of the views of the privileged being called into question by those at a disadvantage. In fact, this is most definitively my favourite quote from the book:
"Sherlock shrugged. “I don’t understand the need for power, really. There are more important pursuits.”
“Only those who have never felt powerless can afford to think like you.” "
I've never done this, but here's how I pictured them (as mentioned above):
Jeremy Brett and Ruth Wilson
All in all, I loved it! I loved the way we were shown the violent family life - I know these experiences aren't universal, but to me, personally, it rang very true. How Mori would try to make excuses to avoid a worse situation. How Mori never surrendered.
I liked the plot, the mystery - even easy as it was to solve, because the tension wasn't really on who did it, but on what that meant personally for the characters' lives.
And I love how Sherlock was basically the love interest, even if a brilliant one, and everything we saw was through Mori's eyes.
I can't wait for the next one, and I truly hope that Mori fully becomes the character Moriarti as we know it from the books.
I recommend this with caution because I LOVED IT, but many didn't, so it's really a question of who's reading it.
Heather W. Petty's official site
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