Book Review: Death Cloud

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Death Cloud Cover

Title: Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes #1)

Author: Andrew Lane

Summary: [from GoodReads]

 The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent . . .

My Review

I have to admit my fascination with Sherlock Holmes is almost entirely based on the recent BBC revival. While I did read a few of the originals when I was in elementary school, I barely remember them, so my judgement is more based on a replication of the original.

For me, Death Cloud was a bit of a conundrum. As a MG mystery it was a great book. I loved that it was a real mystery (not something that it turns out the main character just took the wrong way or blew out of proportion). It didn’t shy away from difficult topics or talk down to the reader. The narrative was interesting and engaging, and the crime itself was incredibly clever.

At the same time, as a Sherlock Holmes novel, I didn’t quite believe it. As an older man, Sherlock is intensely smart, incredibly logical and amazingly socially awkward (but unashamed). I see so very little of those characteristics in this younger version that I find it hard to believe that he will grow into them. Young Sherlock is passably smart, and able to reason from point A to point B well enough, but he doesn’t have the awe-inspiring intellect that I have come to expect. Furthermore, the grown Sherlock has a strong sense of drive. He has to have a case to solve or he goes insane with boredom, and once he does have a case to work, he refuses to eat or sleep until he has it solved. That drive is not there and I don’t believe it can be taught. Sure Sherlock pursues the case, but he doesn’t eat, breathe, sleep and live it the way he supposedly will do only 20 years later.

So, in the end, great book as long as you don’t take it as specifically a “Sherlock Holmes” novel!

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4 Responses to “Book Review: Death Cloud”

  1. I’ve been seeing these around! I’m not sure if I want to give them a go just yet, since I’m reading the ADULT Sherlock Holmes books, but I am intrigued. I think I mostly got into Sherlock Holmes with the movie and THEN the BBC show. Now I can’t get enough!

  2. Hm … this sounds very interesting but I do love Sherlock Holmes. I guess if I don’t take it as a Sherlock it’ll be all right? Hm. I’m not sure if I can do that. I love the BBC Sherlock but hate Elementary. I’ve very sensitive of my love for Sherlock. I’ll have to give it a go anyway, just to see.

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