Hello friends and fellow book lovers! This month, I’m doing something a little bit different with my book reviews since I’m buddy-reading this book, well actually the whole series. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the Charlotte Holmes series so when Jenna suggested buddy-reading, I was totally down. For this first book, it’s just me and Jenna but Sofia is going to join us for the rest.
Instead of doing a stereotypical book review, Jenna came up with a series of questions that we’re going to answer. I think this is a fun way for both of us to get our thoughts out there. She was inspired by Marie’s book review so credit goes to her for the idea. 🙂
This is my spoiler-free review of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books // Release Date: March 2016
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
1. What were your expectations going into the novel? Did the novel meet these by the end?
Rebecca: For me, I guess I went into the novel with extremely high expectations. Even though I’m not a Sherlock Holmes fan, I had really hyped it up in my mind to be something that it wasn’t. Ultimately, I didn’t end up enjoying this book as much as I thought because it felt like there wasn’t enough character development. It was almost as if the author thought we would already know the characters but we didn’t and it bothered me.
Jenna: I was expecting to enjoy it but it to be like any introduction to a series … where the book fleshes out the characters and builds their connection while diving into the mystery element. Parts of the book met my expectations, such as the thrill of the mystery and the connections with Doyle’s original works. However, the connection with Holmes and Watson was left to be desired. I love them both, but the connection felt rushed and there’s not as much “fleshing out” of their individual characters in the book.
2. Our two main characters are Charlotte Holmes and James (Jamie) Watson. What’s your favorite (and least favorite) trait about each of them?
Rebecca: Once again, I don’t have the original source material to go off of. As for Charlotte, my favorite trait of hers was how arrogant and self-confident she was as she and Jamie could solve the crime together. At times, she came off as pretty unlikeable but I really enjoyed that aspect. As for my least favorite of hers, she acted as if she was a ghost sometimes, just living her life to live it rather than having a purpose.
As for Jamie, I loved how far he was willing to go for the case. All the things he did were well-thought-out and were clearly planned by himself or Charlotte. The lengths he was willing to go were admirable. As for my least favorite quality, I think that he lacked a backbone and I wish he would’ve stood up for himself more.
Jenna: Charlotte Holmes: I LOVE her lack of social cues and that desire to SOLVE the case at all costs like Sherlock, building that similarity element. I also love how she’s very independent and capable of many things on her own, portraying herself as a strong woman. I honestly didn’t like how she treated Watson at some points, for it felt like manipulation.
Jamie Watson: He’s just so adorable. Like Doyle’s novels, Watson is brave and selfless, always giving his best. I also appreciate how they kept him similar to the originals, such as his dashing looks and his capable fighting skills. One thing that DID bother me was his tendency to … whine? He just seemed to have this “weird need” to be liked by Holmes when he doesn’t even know her (yet). This obviously diminishes later on in the novel (thank gosh), but it ruined his character a tad for a bit.
3. This novel has a unique twist to the retelling of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. Did you enjoy Cavallaro’s take on it?
Rebecca: I honestly don’t know much about the original series, but I did enjoy Cavallaro’s take on it. She did something unique especially in terms of character roles but I think she shouldn’t have relied so much on the original story since I hadn’t read it and couldn’t connect the dots in the plot at first.
Jenna: For the MOST part, I did. I found it unique since it’s almost a continuation rather than a retelling. I also appreciate Cavallaro getting more elements to the original correct, such as Watson being a dashing young man rather than the bumbling old fool they make him out as in a lot of earlier movie adaptations. There are parts I’m kind of confused about still, but overall I thought it was a RATHER unique interpretation in comparison to other Doyle retelling’s.
4. Finally, what do you anticipate to occur in its sequel “The Last of August”?
Rebecca: This is tough because I think that the book left off at an interesting point. I do agree with Jenna that I hope we get more character development for Watson and Holmes. I also hope that we get to finally see August make an appearance or that the mystery involves him as he played such a significant role in the first book.
Overall, I have average hopes for this book. I think it has the potential to be better than the first book but could suffer from second book syndrome. Regardless, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll end up exceeding expectations.
Jenna: I’m honestly not quite sure. I would HOPE that we get more character development between Holmes and Watson, but I’m sure they will be whisked off to another adventure rather quickly. And since August is in reference to a character and not the month, I’m assuming we get more details about this August fellow.
Alright friends! Those are both Jenna and my’s thoughts on A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. I’m curious if you guys like this style of review and what you think about the Charlotte Holmes series. For me, I’m feeling kind of meh but hopefully, it’ll get better. 🙂