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5.0 out of 5 stars Much improved comparing to the book one
I remember that I had a slight complaint after the first book. It was to do with too many inner monologues to explain the world building to the reader. Well, it's all gone now. A Study in Darkness is extremely intense and utterly awesome. There, I said it. Wonderful steampunk read, and I even didn't mind a unique spin on Jack The Ripper. Wholly recommended, what an...
Published 4 months ago by kara-karina (Nocturnal Book Re...

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Study in Steampunk.
Back with the fantastically entertaining Evelina Cooper, niece to Sherlock Holmes, in this second instalment of the Steampunk mysteries - The Baskerville Affair. This time we start with the main characters all scattered hither and thither after the events at the end of the last book. It's fair to say I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed in Tobias' character in A study in...
Published 7 months ago by The Demon Librarian


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3.0 out of 5 stars A Study in Steampunk., 11 Dec 2013
By 
The Demon Librarian (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Back with the fantastically entertaining Evelina Cooper, niece to Sherlock Holmes, in this second instalment of the Steampunk mysteries - The Baskerville Affair. This time we start with the main characters all scattered hither and thither after the events at the end of the last book. It's fair to say I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed in Tobias' character in A study in Silks. Not all the way through, of course. Just the spineless move he pulled at the end. He let me down, in particular, because he was my pick for Evelina. Now, I don't think he deserves her if he's unable to man up when it counts. I probably best not go into more detail in case you haven't read in order or are peeking ahead to this review, but he was not in my good books as I set out to read A Study in Darkness, put it that way. And I was therefore hoping to see a great deal less of him in this book. And, hopefully, the swift return of childhood friend Nick. Or should I say, The Indomitable Niccolo!

Well, Nick's return wasn't quite as swift as I'd liked, as it turns out. In fact, he seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to make an appearance, but I loved every scene he was in when he finally did! The love triangle, if you can call it that, has taken such an interesting turn. My own loyalties have been hoodwinked and bamboozled, so God only knows how poor Evelina must feel! I think the romance aspect of these books, while small, is so well done. So subtle and yet so full of feeling. Really clever stuff!

As for the rest of the plot, Holloway ingeniously found a way to work in, with a bit of jiggery-pokery and a whole load of imagination and flair - real life serial murderer Jack the Ripper to her Steampunk world. I thought this aspect - the way she made it fit her plot - was truly fantastic! I honestly cannot fault the worldbuilding side of things at all. It seems water tight and is highly enjoyable to read.

So, why am I being a miserable cow and only giving it 3.5 stars? Well, simply because the beginning, before Nick reappeared, was rather slow-going. These are big books, five-hundred some pages, so it doesn't take much for it to feel like you're hardly moving. And indeed, this time, it felt like we were purposely delaying the action. Therefore, I have to in all honesty give it less than I gave book one, which moved at a much smoother tempo. Still, I found much to enjoy, as ever, and can't wait for book three!

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much improved comparing to the book one, 17 Mar 2014
I remember that I had a slight complaint after the first book. It was to do with too many inner monologues to explain the world building to the reader. Well, it's all gone now. A Study in Darkness is extremely intense and utterly awesome. There, I said it. Wonderful steampunk read, and I even didn't mind a unique spin on Jack The Ripper. Wholly recommended, what an adventure!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable series, but I wish it would have had less Romance and more Smart Protagonist. (3.5 stars), 13 Mar 2014
What I really enjoyed about this series (A Study in Silks, A Study in Darkness, A Study in Ashes):

- excellent Steampunk ideas, devices, and contrivances
- likeable main character (and a non-bimbo sidekick! yay!)
- fairly-well-developed characters and backgrounds
- good knowledge of period dress and customs
- well-developed worldbuilding for the magic base
- clever alternate plot "truths" using Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

What I could have done without:

- protagonist's seemingly endless dithering about men, and treacly romantic scenes (to be fair, it *is* marketed as Paranormal Romance)
- protagonist continually set as Damsel in Distress (kidnapped, trapped, imprisoned), only being freed by the next captor or by accident, rather than by her own ingenuity, skill, and pluck
- resolution of the series where most important thing, sadly, seems to be the protagonist getting married to her man

If you like Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, you will probably enjoy this one.

If you'd rather bypass the treacly romantic stuff, this series might be too much for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk does Sherlock and Jack the Ripper.., 24 Jan 2014
By 
Cheryl M-M (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I am in two minds about this second book in the A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair) series.
The first half is extremely drawn out. Every movement and scene moves along at what seems to be a snails pace. It is a shame because the second half has twice as much as what the first part lacks. It is also much better than the first book from a plot and character perspective.
Tobias was a huge turn ff in the first book. Snotty, selfish and used to getting his own way. He was never the perfect fit for Evalina anyway. I enjoyed finally seeing another side to him in this book. His interactions with Alice later on in the story are indicative of a character who has evolved.
Evalina has to come to terms with some unsettling insights. She is given the opportunity to learn a little more about a certain type of magick. She becomes aware of a subconscious need for control and thirst for more in regards to the darker side of the powers. Others recognize the traits in her but Evalina finds it hard to accept this new aspect of her persona.
Holloway has quite cleverly managed to fit one of the most notorious serial-killers of the 20th century into the story without it being completely far-fetched. From a Steampunk point of view it is actually superbly done.
What I would like to see is the author creating a whole book with the pace, detailed descriptions, solid characters and plot- weaving of the second half of this book throughout an entire book.There needs to be more balance, which was lacking in this one. Her Steampunk and ideas are sound and intriguing and certainly worth the read.
I received a copy of this book for my review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant follow-on to the series., 11 Nov 2013
I received a free copy of A Study In Darkness in exchange for an honest opinion.

This is the second in The Baskerville Affair series by Emma Jane Holloway and it continues on from A Study In Silks. We find Evelina Cooper getting caught in a compromising position by Jasper Keating, the Gold King, and having to go undercover in Cheapside to find the Blue King's Maker in an effort to save her reputation, her friends and loved ones from Keating's wrath. To add to the danger, Jack the Ripper is on the prowl.

This story has a rich cast of characters and the plot within the plot is brilliant, it is woven seamlessly into the story and you find yourself trying to guess who-dun-it.

There is a wonderful combination of suspense and romance, all mixed in with a dash of magic and murder. It is a well-written story with plenty of twists and surprises and it gallops along, dragging you with it until the very end.

You've got the Steam Barons' up to their usual tricks, pirate's in dirigibles and Sherlock Holmes unable to find his niece without being hampered by the Blue Boys' and the Yellowbacks. There is also the return of Dr. Magnus and his automatons.

If you enjoy Steam-punk, romance, suspense, murder and intrigue this ticks all the boxes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get this book!, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Second instalment in The Baskerville Affair series and an explosive episode! These books are best read in order starting with A Study in Silks but this second offering was very easy to follow.
Evalina is the niece of Sherlock Holmes and just like her famous uncle possesses an incredibly curious mind. A smart woman constrained by Victorian attitudes she nevertheless refuses to be downtrodden. Having experienced a less than auspicious childhood she's grown up to be a loyal and courageous young woman.
Evalinas returning to her uncles home when an explosion rocks Baker Street and it's plain that someone is up to no good. Realising that Evalina could find out useful information if she joins her friend Imogen at the Gold Kings country house she reluctantly agrees to her uncles request that she go. The so called Gold King Jasper Keating is a man determined not to lose control and he has teemed up with the Scarlet King to somehow overthrow those who would undermine him. His daughter is engaged to Tobias , the man that Evalina believes loves her! Tobias had agreed to marry Alice to save his father from prosecution but when Evalina and Tobias are caught kissing its clear that she has fallen for Keatings underhand plot. He knew of her feelings for Tobias and used that against her. Now blackmailed by him as she doesn't want Tobias or Sherlock hurt she must travel to the seedier side of London to uncover just what the Blue King has planned.
This story is set in a world where steam is everything and no other power available, a world that hasn't yet got electricity and those who control the provision of steam are living like Kings. Indeed areas are divided up and and colours used to show which of the so called Kings is in charge. Magic is feared as it could be used to wrest control away from the Steam Barons and Evalina is a possessor of magic. She has unique abilities that enable her to create clockwork animals and then imbue them with Devas (spirits) to bring them to life.
The author has cleverly set this story in Whitechapel at the time of the so called Ripper murders and as Evalina gets pulled into the harsh underbelly of London danger is all around her. She's closer to the Ripper than she realises and finds herself working for Magnus a man she had previously thought dead. Magnus is no ordinary man though as like Evalina he can use magic but he's a user of dark magic and soon he will tempt Evalina with it.
Her task to find information for Keating has a time limit though and time is running out. Desperate to keep her loved ones safe she runs into Nick her childhood sweetheart unexpectedly and sees a difference in him. Nick has undergone many changes and although now a pirate with an airship he's still as devoted to Evalina as he ever was. Like Evalina he possesses a wild magic but now Nick finds himself helping the rebels who would abolish the steam barons. Why is Mycroft, Sherlocks brother involved with the rebels? Can Evalina find information for Keating in time? As for Magnus his agenda cannot bode well and is Evalina set to be the next victim in the Whitechapel murders?
I absolutely loved this book. Just so much going on. I adored the Victorian world with the twist of magic and it's just such fun to read about Sherlock Holmes and his niece Evelina. She's a brave and loyal sort but still has a lot of growing up to do. Clearly fascinated by dark magic and yet strangely so innocent at times. I'm not always sure about her taste in men though as I've always thought Tobias a weak and shallow individual. Nick is definitely becoming more of a love interest and I do hope that we get to see more from him.
As for the plot and the steam barons well it's fair to say that odious does not begin to describe them or their actions! These are evil men who will stop at nothing to cement their power and do not care how many suffer. I really want them to get their comeuppance and would dearly love for the rebels to triumph.
The writing and world building is truly amazing. It was so unexpected to have airship battles amidst all the magic and mayhem. There is so much going on in this book that it's impossible to categorise it. Magic, action, romance, adventure, pirates and the most famous murderer of all time!
I can't wait to read the next instalment!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive second installment, 29 Oct 2013
Evelina is back with an explosive second installment! As we delve back in to Evelina's alternate Victorian world, time has passed sense the end of Silks and the plot against the Steam Baron's has stepped up a notch, with the revelation that Evelina's Uncle Mycroft is a prominent figure to do with Baskerville. The Blue King is up to something, and Scarlet and Gold want to know what.

After Baker Street is bombed, Evelina ventures to Scotland where the Roth's and Gold King have ventured for the end of Summer. However when Tobias, now engaged to Keating's daughter Alice, arrives to see Evelina one last time, an indiscretion between the two, witnessed by Keating, means Evelina has no choice but to become the Gold Kings pawn.

Sent to Whitechapel to find information on the Blue King and his army to protect her Uncle Sherlock, Evelina discovers that Magnus is very much alive, along with his creepy automaton Serafina, who has a very dark secret surrounding her. Evelina finds herself drawn into Magnus's employ and soon the lure of all he can teach her about her magic becomes too much. She becomes his pupil, but will the lure of the dark magic be too much? Can her Uncle Sherlock find her and one piece? And can Sherlock catch a certain murderer?

The plot definitely thickens in this installment, Imogens nightmares are ramped up a notch, and they have a very dark root, which is to do with her father's past with Magnus and the automaton's. That past and a lot more about Bancroft unravels and is finally shown to us.

Holloway continued this second installment smoothly and even had a thread linking the two books. Her prose is as perfect as it was in the first book. Fast paced, full of intrigue, history, magic and machines, it's hard to put down, the world she creates with her words draws you in and refuses to let you leave. The characters are just as realistic and well written as before, with more dimensions to them being revealed. The descriptions of the various steam and clockwork devices are fascinating and detailed to read, while not slowing the pace of the plot down.

I was really rooting for Tobias and Evelina but he really is a git, and I find myself disliking his character, while still understanding his motives. Nick and Evelina re-connect, now that Athena has taught Nick how to control his powers, their magic isn't as volatile together, and after the hurt of Tobias letting her go and marrying Alice, Evelina embarks on a relationship with Nick. I love Nick I really do and I loved the direction his character has gone in.

Holloway created a complex plot line in the first book, and this book is not a disappointment. There are less swaps in point of view, the story is mainly told through Evelina, Nick and Imogen with brief glimpses from Bancroft, Tobias and Sherlock. I loved hearing more from Sherlock and him showing his marginally softer side. The complex plot established in Silks has even more threads woven in to this one, including the brilliantly researched Jack the Ripper plot line. However I did guess the main plot line!

From the opening battle between the Sky Pirates and the Steam Baron's to the last suspense filled word the book takes you on a journey from the country estate and high society, to the slums of Whitechapel, you're transported to the setting, and the story flows smoothly from setting to setting.

Full of twists and turns, and more threads added to an already complex plot, questions are answered while even more are opened up and deeper depths revealed. Full of dark magic, politics, action, pirates and a notorious murderer all expertly weaved together, the next thrilling installment does not disappoint, while everything is coming to a head and closure seems imminent, the stage has been set for the next act of this series.
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