A Study in Silks

A Study in Silks - Emma Jane Holloway *Genre* Historical Fiction, Steampunk*Rating* 3.5*My thoughts*Emma Jane Holloway's "A Study in Silks," is the first novel in The Baskerville Affair trilogy, with the remaining novels (A Study in Darkness & A Study in Ashes) being released a month apart from the other. It is a steampunk, historical fiction, murder/mystery novel that is set in 1888 Victorian London. The main character is Evelina Cooper, the niece of Sherlock Holmes who does make an appearance along with Dr. Watson in the story. London is a place where Steam is the lifeblood of the city thanks to Robber Barons, pardon me, Steam barons who refuse to allow any other form of power, IE Electricity to interfere with their monopoly and their intent to spread it to the Continent. They penalize people who attempt to bypass their steam by Disconnection, intimidation, and embarrassment. This is a time where magic is illegal and people are arrested for witchcraft. Anyone claiming to use real magic is subjected to jail, execution, or a trip to her majesty’s lab for testing. Evelina is an interesting character in that she grew up in the circus and later was taken away by her more Society orientated grandmother Sherlock to be sent to school to learn how to become a proper English lady. Evelina has a lot of her uncle Sherlock's spunk and drive but not his hatred for magical things. Evelina has a unique relationship with magic and mechanical things and loves to create things using Deva's (nature spirits). She also knows that if this secret love gets out, she will be cast aside by English society and sent to the gallows or experimented on.Upon completion of school, Evelina found herself staying at the home of her best friend Imogen Roth and family while preparing for her first Season of society where ladies are expected to look for potential husbands. This leads to Evelina's curiosity getting the better of her when a maid is found killed and the mystery of whom was responsible sends Evelina into a race against the steam barons, a maniacal sorcerer named Dr. Magnus, and two different men who may hold her heart strings (Tobias Bancroft and Niccolo her best friend from the circus.) It is hard for me to choose between Tobias and Nick as the better suitor for Evie since I am a person who doesn’t really care for triangles of any sort. Obviously, each character has his positives and negatives and both characters left a lasting impression on Evie with their final actions in this novel.I’m also wondering how much of a role Sherlock is going to play in this book. Personally, I would love to make it more about Evie, but I won’t fall on my own sword in an effort to besmirch or deny that I like this world and its characters.A Study of Silk is a rather LONG novel in that it has 560 pages. I felt as though it could have been around 100 pages shorter! It took me awhile to get into the story because there is so much going on. Yet, it isn’t a repetitive story. Evie isn’t the only character who gets a chance to tell her story which in this case, isn’t a bad thing because you need to have these other characters point of view in order to understand what is happening around and to Evie.*Recvd 05/28/2013* Expected publication: September 24th 2013 by Del Rey