Skip to main content

Death Cloud

I have been torn about reading Death Cloud by Andrew Lane for some time. On the one hand, it is about a  teenage Sherlock Holmes. On the other hand, the cover is highly mockable. I wouldn't be caught in public with this book sort of mockable. It makes it difficult to take the contents seriously. Then I saw a favorable review from a friend on Goodreads and decided to overcome my being content with chortling over the cover (the UK cover is so much better). I'm glad I did because this is an excellent example of YA historical fiction, a true honoring of the original character, and a fun mystery adventure story.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.  


Sherlock Holmes is such an iconic character that I have to admire those who take him on and do it well. Andrew Lane has done it well. In this story you see the beginnings of the man who will be the great detective and the influences that formed him. I really really liked young Sherlock. He has a keen and intelligent mind but it is not fully trained. For that he has an excellent tutor who forces him to question, observe, think before judging. In his tutor's lessons fans of the original stories can see much of the tactics employed by Holmes, the detective. At the same time this young version of Sherlock is realistically young. He is insecure and unsure of himself. As someone who has read most of the original stories I enjoyed most of the hints of things to come. At the same time I can see a person who had never read those stories finding enjoyment in this developing character as well, even if they don't know to what it is all leading. This made me a little sad: Laudanum. Remembering the strange dreams that he'd had after he had been drugged, while he was being taken to France, Sherlock felt a twinge of-what? Melancholy, perhaps. Wistfulness. Surely not...longing? Whatever the feeling was, he pushed it away. He'd heard stories about people becoming dependent on the effects produced by laudanum, and he had no desire to go down that route. None at all. Poor Sherlock. I have to confess I did miss the presence of Watson. I don't know that I had realized how full of an impression he makes on the stories before, but not having him there made me notice. Sherlock does have two other friendly sidekicks, one of which is a lovely girl who Sherlock most definitely has more than friendly feelings towards. 

All in all this book is good fun whether your a fan of the iconic detective or just interested in mystery set in Victorian England. This is the beginning of the series. There are currently four books out in the UK (with lovely intriguing covers). The second book will be released in the US in April under the altered title, Rebel Fire (can we please get better covers here?).

Comments

April said…
ooh I'll have to read this! P.S. The BBC TV show is awesome. Priorities when you come stay with me: 1)Take Care of Baby 2)watch Sherlock and 3)Play Lego Harry Potter on the Wii
Brandy said…
Fortunately the baby will be small and unaware enough we can do the first one while doing either of the other two. I can teach you the most important skill of motherhood: MULTITASKING.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein