Review: A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway

January 9, 2014 Reviews 5 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane HollowayA Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway
Series: The Baskerville Affair #3
Genres: Steampunk
Published by Del Ray on 29 October 2013
Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley
Reading Challenges: 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star


A Study in Ashes is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Evelina Cooper, Sherlock Holmes’ niece is grappling with the steam barons while Niccolo the pirate captain is getting involved with rebels and Imogen grapples with a doppelgänger. As you can see an awful lot happens within these covers and Holloway has to work hard to pull these disparate threads together.

Evie gets to study like she always wanted but she wasn’t expecting to have to do it while wearing handcuffs courtesy of the Gold King. Naturally she manages to escape but she ends up in even more trouble then she was before. She goes undercover and while she intended to study dark magic in order to reach her potential, it threatens to engulf her. It also has her working alongside an old foe and a very creepy creature. She is isolated from those she cares about for much of the novel making it harder therefore to resist the dark side.

Niccolo is suitably dashing and good in a fight. He acted as a foil for Evie in the first book so I’m glad that he really came into his own and played such a large role in the final showdown. Niccolo never had the same internal struggles that Tobias had so in some ways his journey was easier. Tobias has to juggle his loyalties to his family, wife Alice and the Gold King and to be honest, he makes rather a hash of it. Lots of pages are dedicated to the steam barons which was fascinating in itself but the identity of the Black Baron was a real shock. I rather enjoyed reading how these morally bankrupt individuals met their fate.

I think the plot could have been improved if Imogen’s journey was reduced (even though it was interesting) as there were simply too many elements that fought for my attention. The pace slows down while Evie is in training mode but it picks up again for a rollicking climax. The ending is well executed with the door left open in case Holloway wants to write another novel. 

Please don’t attempt to read this book without having read the first two as you will be incredibly confused. All three were highly enjoyable with the second and third being much darker in tone than the first.

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