The book in one sentence: It’s Sherlock Holmes in space, where Shaharazad Haas, a pansexual sorceress, and John Wyndham, a transgender ex-military officer, fight vampires, necromancers, and the occasional literary critic.
Rating: Travel companion
Long story short: Overall, I really liked this re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes. The characters and some of the settings were similar enough to draw me in to the story, but new enough to make me keep reading.
My favorite things:
- The queering of Holmes & Watson. I love seeing well-known characters exist outside of the confines of what was once imagined. I also liked that the story didn’t revolve around their queerness; they just exist as queer people.
- The plot was so twisty. I loved the twists and turns in the story because they were both interesting and easy to follow.
My not-so-favorite things:
- World-building could improve. Hall created an incredible universe in this story, but perhaps it was too ambitious for this one novel (this isn’t yet a series). He mentions a lot of things superficially, while I would have preferred him choosing a couple of things and giving us a deeper understanding. It’s certainly a self-contained story, so perhaps he wasn’t sure whether he would have the space later.
- The ending came out of nowhere. After following Haas and Wyndham on an exciting chase, the entire mystery/puzzle comes to an end in about 10 pages and is a little disappointing. Given that literally anything is possible in this universe, it isn’t the type of story that you can try to solve as you go.
Have you read The Affair of the Mysterious Letter or other work by Alexis Hall? What did you think?