A STUDY IN ASHES
As in the first two installments of her Baskerville Affair series, Holloway’s skill for creating a richly imagined, immersive world shines. But while Holloway’s talent is never in doubt, this trilogy closer simply contains too much. Not content with a cadre of devious steam barons and a mad magician, Holloway tosses Sherlock Holmes’ archnemesis, Moriarty, into the fray. And at 672 pages, the addition of superfluous scenes and characters occasionally slides the novel into ponderousness. But if you’re a fan of detailed and engaging worldbuilding, you won’t regret picking up Holloway’s entire series.
Evelina Cooper is finally studying at the Ladies’ College of London. But for Sherlock Holmes’ niece, things are rarely simple. Having revealed herself as a magic user to steam baron Jasper Keating, she’s now in his power, trapped by silver bracelets that paralyze her with pain if she dares to leave the bounds of the university. Mourning the loss of her great love, pirate airship captain Nick, and heartsick over the comatose state of her best friend, Imogen, Evelina gets swept even further into the political jockeying of rival steam barons and the growing rebellion, led by the mysterious Schoolmaster. (DEL REY, Jan., 672 pp., $7.99)