Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Books 19 & 20 of 2015: The Game by Laurie R. King & Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Please excuse any terrible typos in this post, Yoda mistook my left hand for a tasty treat earlier and it's currently covered in sticking plaster which is making it tricky to type properly.

The first of today's two books under review is The Game by Laurie R. King. This is the second of King's stories about Sherlock Holmes after his retirement. This one picks up some time after the first of her books, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Holmes and Mary Russell are now married and have been sent to India on a mission to find Kimball O'Hara.

This is one of a trio of books I got for Mr Click as a gift and so after he was finished with it, I picked it up, since it ticked my Reading Challenge requirement of a book which was written by a female author. It's about Sherlock Holmes and it sees him tackling a brand new mission, so it should be an enjoyable read, except both Mr Click and I struggled with it.

For my part, I found it tricky to get into. There seemed to be long periods where not much was happening and then after what seemed like more than half the book, they found O'Hara and everything happened. I couldn't help but think that this book suffers from the same problem that the last one did; it either could of been a lot shorter, or it could have been covered in a little more detail and split into more than one book.

There was a lot more focus on Mary than Sherlock as well. I struggled to see them as a married couple because aside from touching her hair occasionally, they didn't seem very involved. I realise that Holmes is definitely not your average man, but if you're going to make him married, at least have him show some sort of affection or something for the person he's married to, otherwise why can't Mary Russell just be a companion like Watson?

I also have a really random complaint about this book, which I suspect is a result of me not being a teenager anymore and yet still expect to be able to read into the small hours of the morning, but the print in this edition is pretty small. When I was reading it in bed, my eyes would get tired and I'd want to fall asleep.

All that said, I couldn't help but wonder about the next book in the series; the third one in the set that I got Mr Click. I do have to admit I like the third one, Locked Rooms, much better than the other two in the series. But I'll review that one some time around April.

And so onto the second book review for the day, Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This one is a collection of short stories by Sherlock Holmes' creator himself. It was a conveniently free Kindle download which ticked the Reading Challenge mystery/thriller box.
Compared to The Game, I raced through this one, starting it one day and finishing it the next. It's available on Project Gutenberg which means I can read it on the go; that makes it easy to read in my breaks at work or waiting for stuff in the car, since I can pull it up on my phone. It's handy.

I liked trying to figure out the twist in the tales. I did guess the endings for 'The New Catacomb' and 'The Case of Lady Sannox'. They were pretty similar, but it still made me feel kind of smart, sort of like when you can figure out one of Holmes's cases before he does.

I read The Lost World & Other Stories a couple of years ago and they had a more supernatural/sci-fi vibe to them. A couple of the stories in Tales of Terror and Mystery reminded me of them, in particular 'The Horror of the Heights' and 'The Terror of Blue John Gap'.

There's also a nice little Easter Egg in a couple of the stories; Sherlock Holmes crops up twice, kind of. It's a nice little nod to fans of his other famous stories. It also made sense because the stories featured the sorts of cases that he almost certainly would've investigated.

I'd definitely recommend this one to fans of Conan Doyle's other works.

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