A Study In Silks by Emma Jane Holloway (The Baskerville Affair #1)

17262144Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Steampunk

Publisher: Del Rey

My Copy: Edelweiss

Reviewer: Pam

Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London’s high society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

A Study in Silks is about an intriguing new world filled with magic, mechanical wizardry and dark mysteries. This is the first book in a trilogy and I am excited to continue the journey. The characters are interesting and I enjoyed the imagery of the world the author has created.

Evelina Cooper is living with her best friend Imogen and her family; she grew up traveling around performing in the Ploughman’s Paramount Circus, but left five years ago to live with her grandmother. Since then, she has been groomed as a lady and is about to begin her first Season in London but Evelina could care less; she has a fascination with mechanics and magic and wants to go to college someday.

Nick is one of her best friends from the circus; they grew up together and have a special bond, they have not seen each other in five years. Their magic is so powerful when they are together that others were afraid they could not control it, this was one of the reasons that her grandmother came to take her away. Now that the circus is in town, Nick has come to visit and rekindle the friendship they once had to see if there can be something more.

They live in a world where magic is immoral and illegal, those that are caught are sent to a laboratory and never heard from again, yet there are pockets of magic users all around. Those with the Blood can tell when magic has been used. Imogen’s father Lord Bancroft is one that hides some of his magical mysteries. When a servant is murdered at Hilliard House, suspicion lands on everyone, as there are some interesting secrets being kept.

I really enjoy the magic that is infused in their lives, Evelina can make mechanical items come to life and she uses these to help her find answers to the murder, and I love the mouse and bird she uses as her spies. Imogen’s brother Tobias, a man that Evelina finds fascinating is also into building mechanical items and keeps his own secrets and agendas. There is so much going on in the story, the politics surrounding the Steam Council as they try to suppress the masses, an evil sorcerer that wants control and still the mystery surrounding the murder that needs to be solved.

What an interesting story, this is the first in a trilogy and it was truly a great start. I love the premise and the setting as we visit historical London with steampunk imagination to create this amazing world where magic is immoral, unless you happen to be in charge. The author has several POV’s tell the story and although there is a lot of information and I got confused at times, it works out well. I also had a hard time in the beginning with the timeline but eventually it comes together.

The characters are very intriguing as we try to find who is good and who is evil and yet we may never know as the line between the two can be very fine. People do things for various reasons and it is interesting to have her uncle Sherlock explain the whys to her. I really enjoyed the interaction between Evelina and Sherlock and although I have not read any books that feature him and I am not sure how authentic the portrayal is I like how he is written.

Since this is the first in the trilogy the overall story arc is not complete, we will continue to see Evelina, Tobias, Nick and hopefully Imogen as they explore the world and the complications that are thrown their way. There is not an HEA at the end and an evil that Evelina thought disappeared may be returning to cause more havoc, so you can be sure that I will be reading the next in the series to find out what exciting things happen and to see if Evelina finds what she is looking for. This is a wonderful, entertaining story filled with fantasy and mystery.

I give A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway 4 stars!

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