Connor rates it: 4/5
Imagine, if you will, your favorite crime solving/crime fighting dynamic duo. It could be Sherlock and Holmes, as we have here in a different light; it could be Mulder and Scully, or maybe early-seasons-Booth and Bones; Batman and Robin, perhaps; Carter and Jarvis, or maybe Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Whichever they are, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are sure to join your list of favorites. They are bright and clever, with curious talents and pursuits just enough their own to make them unique, but also just enough in line with their illustrious ancestors to make them absurdly fun to read.
A Study in Charlotte doesn't just subvert various Holmes/Watson tropes; it finagles its way around them, over them, through them. There are mysteries, subplots, intrigue, secretive chemistry experiments, a Stradivarius--and, of course, the sort of mutual devotion one expects from a Holmes and a Watson.
If you're worried this won't live up to your expectations of a teenage Sherlock Holmes: you've got the wrong book. This isn't a book about Sherlock Holmes. It's a book related to Sherlock Holmes. It's about legacy and character, history and the modern age, true friendship and loyalty in an age of loneliness and mystery--and it shines.
I will happily admit that it is not perfect. I will also admit that there were moments where I winced, and there were topics that were not handled quite so delicately or deftly as I might have liked.
But I will also admit, wholeheartedly, that this book was more than I had hoped, and I am decidedly looking forward to the next installment of the trilogy. The delicate movement of Charlotte and Jamie from strangers to friends and partners is carefully chronicled here. It's not an easy road--there is, as mentioned, murder and mystery, and also intrigue! forgery! secret tunnels! a literal explosion!--but then, it wouldn't be Holmes and Watson if it were.