Release date: March 1st 2016
Jamie Watson is not happy to be attending Sherringford, a prep school close to where his estranged father lives. He’s the great-great-great-grandson of the famous John Watson and it just so happens that the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes also attends Sherringford. Charlotte Holmes has always been a fascination of Jamie’s but when they do meet, it doesn’t go well. When a student turns up dead, taken right out of a Sherlock Holmes story, and Charlotte and Jamie find themselves as the main suspects, they team up to investigate and prove they’re being framed.
As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was really excited for this retelling. I was hoping the for same feel of the originals but with characters who had their own identity and I thought the spin on things were interesting, with Sherlock and Watson being real people and the generations after them continuing on with their legacy. There was some suspending belief required, much the same as reading a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book where teens can solve all these crimes that stump the police.
The book was told from the POV of Jamie and I did like his character. He struggled with a lot of things; anger at his father for leaving, anger at moving to America, anger at the school bully, and that was something he had to learn to deal with because it got him into trouble. He had some quirks that felt Watson-esque but did feel like his own character. I had a harder time with Charlotte, who mostly felt like a teen girl version of Sherlock instead of her own character. I never felt like I got a sense of who she was outside of her being a ‘Holmes’. She did bring up the same frustrations I have with Sherlock so that part was successful and I did enjoy a lot of her bantering with Jamie when it wasn’t mean.
The plot was fun to read, which seems a little weird considering it was a murder mystery plot, but it was fun. There were a lot of great character interactions that I enjoyed and Jamie and Charlotte played off each other well. I loved all the nods to the Sherlock stories, with the villain using the stories, taunting Charlotte and Jamie with them. It brought back feelings of reading the original stories, or reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, a feeling I love. There were a lot of twists once the pieces started coming together and maybe a little too much info-dumping near the end but nothing that was majorly unforgivable.
I do wonder how people who aren’t familiar with Sherlock will take Charlotte since she could be very harsh and wasn’t very likable. Will people unfamiliar with them be able to see why Jamie is still so drawn to her? Overall, it was fun to read and an interesting twist on a favourite.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.