Saturday, 4 August 2012

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Title: Death Cloud
Author: Andrew Lane
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Released: January 1st 2010
Pages: 306 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon

The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent...

So after what feels like forever, I have finally finished Death Cloud, the first installment of the Young Sherlock Holmes series. Now I am a super massive fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, so when I found out that Lane had written a series about Sherlock when he was roughly my age, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I had high hopes, and sadly I was slightly disappointed, but I am nevertheless so glad that I actually have read it, and the fact that I have the next three installments waiting on my shelf.

This book follows Sherlock as he is sent to his Aunt and Uncle's house for the summer holidays, and it is basically about him trying to cure his boredom - needless to say, he ends up walking right into a mystery, and being the curious person that he is, he has to try and solve it.

Firstly, the reason why I'm rating this quite low is because of how boring the being is. I read books pretty quickly, and this took me quite a while because of how boring it was. I know at the beginning of a book you have to set the scene, but it was so dreary. However, after the first two chapters, the novel picked up immensely, and I found myself hooked in the way which I had hoped I would be from the beginning. But better late than never, especially in this case, and I found the rest of the novel very gripping and interesting - one thing I always love about Sherlock Holmes is his ability to work out the solution, so you're not left with questions unanswered.

The overall actual plot was quite good. It wasn't as amazing as I was expecting, but I suppose that the storyline and mystery had to be believable, and for a beginning adventure it was very good. I liked the ways in which the character's came across the adventures, because it wasn't overly obvious that they were going out looking for something interesting to happen - it was like they were going out on your average trip, and then BOOM - you stumble upon yet another mystery. It kept it believable.

I have to say, what I'm most impressed about with this novel is the fact that Sherlock is not Lane's creation, and the fact that he is able to so easily recreate a believable younger Sherlock is fantastic. I felt that he captured the essence of the previous characters perfectly, and also made the new characters fit in with the time very well. As I'm sure I've said before, it's one thing creating your own characters, and a completely different one trying to recreate someone else's.

Overall, I did enjoy the novel, especially towards the end half. Lane's writing style is very simple yet interesting, so despite it's beginning boring-ness, I didn't find it difficult to read. It could have been improved by the story getting going a bit faster, but apart from that it was great, and I will now be starting to sequel to this book, Red Leech. Look out for a review soon!
Rating: 3/5

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