I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Psychic Nan Killian and medium Sarah Lyon-White, and their clever birds, the raven Neville and the parrot Grey, have been agents of the Elemental Fire Master, Lord Alderscroft, since they left school. Now they have a new commission: to work with the famous man living at 221 Baker Street. But not the man living in flat B; they are to assist the one living in flat C. Taking the occult cases his more famous friend refuses, Doctor John Watson and his wife Mary, who are themselves Elemental Master of Water and Air, will need every skill the girls and their birds can muster.
Together, the girls will confront the mysterious and deadly entity that nearly killed them as children: the famous Haunt of Number 10 Berkeley Square, and a multitude of spirits that threaten to destroy not only a lifelong friendship, but far more than that.
Mercedes Lackey’s ‘A Study In Sable’ was a quick, fun, and easy read that brought together all that I was expecting in a novel such as this. It’s light-hearted and fantastical with elements of magic, ghosts, ghoulies and much more coupled with a mystery that left me questioning throughout.
Though ‘A Study In Sable’ is the eleventh book within the Elemental Masters series, it can easily be read as a standalone. I have never read one of these books before and I found it easy to delve into the world and understand and relate to the characters. There are mentions to what are obviously previous plot lines that I really wished I knew about, however it didn’t deter from the overall reading experience as it is clear that these previous stories do not play any part in the overall progression and understanding of the current narrative.
The characters of Nan and Sarah really drew me into the narrative. They were completely different to characters I would expect from that era and really spoke to me through their nonconformity to traditional female characters. They were spunky and intelligent, each possessing their flaws which are clearly mentioned throughout the novel. We see them progress really well throughout and overcome these flaws, becoming better people through their experiences. I really enjoyed the friendship between the two which, I am presuming, has progressed exponentially over the series of books. It is clear that they will do anything and everything for each other, and this book truly tests their relationships and themselves within this friendship.
I also really loved the implementation of the Sherlock Holmes characters. They were true to their original representations (that I have seen from watching the TV series) and I really enjoyed Holmes truthful arrogance alongside the other characters we see within the novel. I was worried that Lackey implementing Holmes would result in a Holmes far less inferior to the original character, but I was pleasantly surprised.