Friday, May 5, 2017

Lock and Key: The Initiation - Ridley Pearson

Summary: Bestselling author of Peter and the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson reimagines the origins of the epic rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty. Set in modern times and focusing on Moriarty's bone-chilling beginnings, this middle grade mystery-adventure series will upend everything you thought you ever knew about Sherlock Holmes—and the true nature of evil.

In the pantheon of literature’s more impressive villains, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest nemesis, James Moriarty, stands alone. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes him in the classic tale “The Final Solution,” Moriarty is a genius, a philosopher, and a spider in the center of his web. He is the Napolean of crime—and now, for the first-time ever, New York Times bestselling novelist Ridley Pearson explores the origins of his evil ways.

Our story begins when James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome—but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville’s hallowed halls. And now so too must James. It’s at Baskerville where James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever!

It’s another seat-of-your-pants mystery from the bestselling author of Peter and the Starcatchers and The Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson. (Summary and image from

Review: I'm a sucker for a Sherlock Holmes story, regardless of the form. Even though I know not all retellings are going to be as enthralling as the original (and that I may end up liking one or more retellings even more than some of the original stories), I can't seem to step away from them. Enter Ridley Pearson's new series, Lock and Key.

Now, I really like Pearson's writing. It's fluffy, it's fun, it's light and intriguing, it entertains me when I just want to be entertained. Like many prolific authors, there are some series I like more than others, and some I am fine taking my time working through. But the older I get, the more I realize I'm not going to read every book on my TBR list unless I get a little more discriminating in what I pick up. Some series need to be abandoned, some I'm okay with not even starting. Unfortunately, this is one I'm a little upset I started. 

The reader is taken through a few different points of view throughout the story, giving us a better picture of what's going on. However, it just convoluted the story. And I don't know if it's because I'm such a fan of BBC's Sherlock, but I really didn't think that modernizing the characters worked in this setting. I had a difficult time wrapping my head around why on earth Sherlock, a British charity case, would be shipped across the Atlantic to boarding school, when the very best boarding schools are in Europe. It just felt too convoluted and forced. 

Second, I found myself searching desperately for any spark of brilliance in Moriarty, and all I truly found was a propensity toward bullying, but not much of one. Building upon that upset, Sherlock seemed like a sycophant, desperate for anyone's approbation. It just grated on my sensibilities. Gone were the formidable and genius minds, in their place were two rather average intelligent tweens. And yes, I understand that tweens aren't going to be full adults, but I expect more from two of the greatest minds in fiction, even in their youth.

Finally, this story just dragged. It got outright boring, something that no Holmes-based story should ever be allowed to do. Slogging through the detritus of the story in order to solve a rather boring mystery became chore-like. That's not what a Sherlock story should be. It should be a mind-puzzle. An opportunity for the reader to deduct, reason, and foresee potential outcomes. Never, ever, should a Sherlock story in any form be an exercise in endurance.

Rating: Two stars

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