New in Book Review: Becoming Holmes

Author: Shane Peacock

Publisher: Random House of Canada Ltd

  • Imprint: Tundra Books

Date Published: October 9th, 2012

Format: Hardcover

Source: From my own personal library.

Synopsis:

The surprising and shocking conclusion to the unique BOY SHERLOCK HOLMES series.

Becoming Sherlock is the final book in Shane Peacock’s award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series, combining brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, and a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 3.5

Cover:

Becoming Holes cover

The cover at first glance appears ordinary but when you remove the jacket it reveals a second cover. This one is a gorgeously detailed illustration of the character and what appears to be a scene from the novel. The other side of the jacket is also illustrated with a map of 1870 London, England.

Recommendation:

A Casual Perusal

Review:

Plot/Storyline:

I am a huge fan of mystery novels, especially the original Sherlock Holmes series so end though this was the final book in this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes I decided to try to read it as a stand-alone. Also I’m normally against reading any adaptation of the classics but on the recommendation of my friend Sarah who works at Type Books I decided to give it a shot. The plot interesting enough to capture my attention for most of the book. The reader follows Sherlock Holmes as she tries to figure out who killed Grimsby, a low ranked criminal. Without spoiling too much I will say that the twist at the end was somewhat surprising and cleverly done. And while this is the final book in the The Boy Sherlock Holmes it can be read just as well as a standalone.

Writing:

The book is divided into short chapters which I found made it easier to read. While the story is told in a third person narration which often lets the readers in the minds of both Sherlock Holmes, his mentor as well as the villains of the story. The writing itself is filled with rich details of London, England. In fact there were often times while reading that I could almost hear the sounds, and smell the smells just based on Peacock’s descriptions of them in the novel. However the downside of having such rich descriptions is that there are a few times where the authour goes a bit overboard causing certain scenes in the book to drag on. Overall I think the authour’s writing style helped the book able to stay true to the canon Sherlock Holmes stories while at the same time helped it to become its own unique story.

Characters:

It is made very clear early on that even though this is an adaptation and the Sherlock Holmes here is much younger, he is still very much flawed. In fact throughout the book there are hints that are dropped about the future Sherlock Holmes including a small reference to the drug addiction he would have later on as an adult. Furthermore some of the canon characters from the original Sherlock Holmes stories make appearances such as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft, the police officer who would later be known as Inspector Lestrade and the villain Professor Malefactor. Though he is young, his interactions with these characters foreshadow what his future relationships with each one of them would be like.

I really enjoyed the addition of a mentor/father-like figure for Sherlock in the form of Sigerson Bell, the apothecary who has taught Sherlock everything he knows. Although he is old, and sickly he is still able to help Sherlock out on his cases.

The villains were for the most part a mixed bag. I found Grimsby to be quite annoying and was grateful that he was killed off early on. While Malefactor was supposed to be Sherlock’s main foe, he barely appeared in the story. Still his presence and influence on Sherlock and many of the other characters was felt throughout the entire book. However, I did like how Malefactor’s main man, Crew was written as he really did seem like the cold-blooded killer that he was meant to be.

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable, the descriptions of the setting and characters were so vivid that even after I was finished with the book they remained in my head.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The opinions expressed in this review are my own; I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this review.

– Linh

2 thoughts on “New in Book Review: Becoming Holmes

  1. I think I read the one just before this one – The Dragon Turn? And I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t fabulous but it was a fun read with some interesting character. I would definitely recommend it to middle grade and young teen boys.

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