A Study in Silks is a debut Steampunk novel by author Emma Jane Holloway. It releases September 24, 2013. I was fortunate enough to obtain an advanced reader copy last week.
Evelina Cooper is a young girl with a strange upbringing. Raised under a circus tent she is excited to enter her first season in London society. While staying with a friend in the fashionable district a grisly murder occurs. Evelina’s curiosity is piqued. She is the niece to the infamous detective Sherlock Holmes, and she believes that she can resolve the murder with her own deductive skills. Further investigation into the crime reveals a seedy underside; a London where steam barons and mechanized gadgetry hold real power and nothing is what it seems.
This is one of those books that I would have preferred to be in a better mood during the read, though I enjoyed the tone of it immensely. I have had several diversions going on in my personal life so I couldn’t afford to devote as much time as I wanted to. What I liked about this book was the overall spunk of the heroine, Evelina. I find her to be a perfect mixture of character, charm, and wit. She’s a natural follow up for Holmes in these types of gaslight mysteries.
Where this book looses the reader is in its multiple narrative paths. A Study in Silk is told in third person. I really wanted it to be written in first because I like Evelina that much. The quickly moving perspectives are jarring and hard to follow. I would have preferred for this book to have a few less characters to develop the story. By the time it would cycle around to someone I wanted to read again I often did not remember who they were and would have to go back in the text to recall their details. It didn’t help that there is an element of dramatic irony within one of the perspectives that adds more confusion than tension.
The romantic plot lines were delicious. For the first time ever during a book I was impatient for the triangle to emerge. In recent days love triangles are so old hat, but this one I enjoyed.
I think I may have to reread this when I am in a better place for it. I loved the Steampunk/Gaslight elements to it, and the book is perfect for fans of Gail Carriger. For me though it’s a 3 out of 5 star book. But were I more in the mood for it the book would have been a solid four.
* E-arc of A Study in Silks was provided by Random House via Netgalley. Thanks for the chance to read it early.