I am so annoyed. Since I gave book #1 three stars, I hoped for another three star read or higher this time. But due to the lack of any mysteries to solve and just more teen angst and a love triangle that only one person was interested in (Jamie) I was over this book before the end.
I haven't read all of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock stories, but I never got from him a sense of disdain for Watson. Or that Sherlock didn't know right from wrong. I don't know if putting this in the YA setting is the issue or what. I really enjoyed "A Study in Scarlet Women" so you can have a gender flipped Sherlock Holmes that doesn't make you loathe the character.
As others may recall based on the last book, the Moriarty family realizes August is alive and they want him back and Charlotte Holmes and her family punished. Charlotte and Jamie head back to England for the holiday break and while there stay at both their homes. While at Charlotte's family home, Jamie finally meets Leander Holmes. Leander is currently undercover looking into some art forgeries and then goes missing. Jamie and Charlotte believe it may be the Moriarty family or the case he's working that's behind his disappearance. The trail leads Charlotte and Jamie to go to Berlin to figure out what's going on. This leads to the not dynamic duo staying with Milo (Charlotte's older brother) and Charlotte connecting with August Moriarty again.
We get to meet August Moriarty in this one and he's more developed than most of the other characters. He has a lot more patience for Jamie's jealously than I would have and the fact that he even speaks to Charlotte is a point in his favor. It's like everyone but Leander Holmes gets what Charlotte did was wrong with ruining August when he rejected her romantically. He's too good for Charlotte and I felt the most for him since he is torn between the Holmes family and his. Even with everything we readers get to see, Jamie constantly keeps needing him to be a villain and sorry I was not here for that.
Leander Holmes is another character I enjoyed we just didn't get to spend much time with. He definitely has a better sense about things than any Holmes besides Charlotte's mother. We get more insight into him due to emails he sends Jamie's father, but I don't think anything Jamie is reading sinks in at all.
I liked the cover.
Dear authors, if one of your characters is raped, and another character who wasn't raped keeps complaining about how that rape is affecting him throughout the entire book your readers may hate the character. I know I did. As readers know we find out that Charlotte Holmes was raped in the last book. She rightfully is still dealing with the aftermath of that. But due to Jamie being in love with her and wanting to be with her "that way", he's frustrated. I hope you enjoy teen fights since that's a good 2/3 of this book. And Jamie stating he loves Charlotte, but gets angry at her every five seconds. Honestly he acts like a spurned lover and I started hoping something would fall on his head.
Charlotte was a contradiction throughout the book. We do her her POV in this one against me it was welcomed since I wasn't reading about Jamie and his feelings anymore. But, this character says plainly what she needs from Jamie a lot and then he ignores her. She has bad reactions from him touching her sometimes and tries to do tests to see if she can cure herself of that. I don't know why, but scenes like that bugged. When we switch to her POV and she mentions seeing Jamie like a knight errant I maybe laughed out loud. Okay I did laugh out loud. Her depiction of him doesn't gibe with the Jamie we've been given for two books.
I wish that Cavallaro had shown more of Charlotte and August interactions when the action moves to Berlin. But we unfortunately do not get that here. And once again we get a book showing Charlotte is not as great as deductions as she think she is.
Cavallaro has pretty much depicted the Holmes family as monsters, the Moriarty's too, and the Watson's just enablers of the Holmes.
I actually got Emma Holmes (Charlotte's mom) more at the end and wished we had gotten a chance to spend more time with this character. Also even though Milo is supposed to dangerous and intelligent he does something beyond stupid at the end of the book that doesn't even fit.
We get Tom and Lena in this one again and they were not necessary. Actually they felt shoehorned in.
The writing was repetitive after a while. The majority of the book is told from Jamie's first person POV. He's in turns rude, angry, jealous, and sad throughout the book. When Jamie meets August he seriously becomes more of a pain, and I didn't know it was possible. The POV told from Charlotte's POV was welcome so you could get out of Jamie's head for a bit. We also get to read emails from Leander Holmes to Jamie's father and that definitely gives us more clues into their friendship. And honestly I be more interested reading about them then the younger generation at this point.
Also can I say that based on how Jamie's father acts, he wants Jamie to show up Charlotte and solve the case (Leander's disappearance) but it definitely doesn't sound like anything that he would have done while working with Leander.
The flow is actually okay in this one. It's just nothing happens for a good majority of the book. You find out the how behind the forgeries right away, but solving Leander's disappearance takes a while.
Moving the setting from the school to England and then Berlin was a bad idea. I didn't get any sense of Germany in this one. We don't get much details while they are in Germany besides Jamie describing rooms.
The ending was a travesty. I think this book was set up to be along the lines of His Last Bow maybe. I honestly don't see how there can be a third book in this series. Jamie and Charlotte have a highly toxic relationship and I am not here for them together. She needs therapy and he needs to get over himself.