ARC Book Review: The Hollow Fear by Sherry Thomas
ashley | I haven’t read book one or two of Sherry Thomas’ Lady Holmes series, but when I saw an ARC of The Hollow Fear it just sounded too fun to pass up. I was worried I’d miss out on a few details, but I figured I could take a hint from Holmes and piece together the gist of things to make this third installment just as great as if I’ve read the rest.
I had a little bit of trouble settling into this story, perhaps it was because I felt plunked into the middle of it having not read any of the previous books. Thomas does a great job of re-explaining backgrounds and giving extra information though, so I never felt lost, but I certainly didn’t feel as drawn in as I would have expected.
The overall tone was what I expected from a Sherlock Holmes-esque novel, strangely mixed with something out of a Jane Austen novel. I love both, but weaving them together was kind of strange at the start and there was a lot of concern with reputations and gossip and social status at the beginning, which I wasn’t anticipating and felt kind of dragged for me. I’m not sure if that was just in this book, as Charlotte underwent a scandal in the previous books, so maybe I just got off on the wrong foot, but I felt like the social standing aspect somewhat overshadowed the actual investigation work involved.
I did quite enjoy the moments where Charlotte zoned in on a person or situation to fully analyze and deconstruct the moment. That’s by far my favourite Sherlock Holmes quality, so I was pleased to see it often here as well. And I liked Charlotte in the role of Holmes; the female perspective was welcomed and enjoyable, even if she was dressed like a man most of the time. She very easily flitted through various characters to uphold the deceiving story that there is, in fact, a Sherlock Holmes.
Overall, I feel somewhat lukewarm about the story, though. It was well crafted and the twists were on par with a Sherlock story, but I think I got too caught up in the weight of society and Charlotte’s reputation to fully enjoy it all. Certain parts seemed repetitive and the characters never fully grew on me. Hard to say whether that was my own fault for jumping into the middle of a series though. I love the concept and what this book set out to do, it just didn’t fully convince me.
october 2, 2018