Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice

'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' by Laurie R. King

Rating: 3 Stars

This was a fun read. I would have never imagined a character as incredible as Sherlock Holmes to find anyone even coming close to being his match other than Miss Irene Adler, but somehow 15-year-old Mary Russell does it with ease.

Written from the perspective of Mary, King provides a whole new dimension to Conan Doyle's stories, giving the perspective of a character who is near to being Holmes' equal. I loved Holmes and Russell's friendship, but was saddened by Watson's lack of relevance to the story. Seeing the world through Mary's eyes gave a whole new perspective to Holmes' thinking process, still, I cannot forgive the huge disregard for Watson as a character, for he was a far more relatable narrator.

Possibly the main reason I struggled to relate to Mary, and also the reason I could not give this book 5 stars was a result of the forced themes. King is clearly both a theist and a feminist, and in turn, so is Mary. But despite getting more of an insight into Holmes' mind that Watson could ever provide, we receive none such insight for the narrator herself. Perhaps a mention of religion here and there, or a partial feminist viewpoint, but nothing on what this actually meant to Mary or even relating to the book itself. If Mary's opinions were cut out, nothing about the story would change because these ideas seemed so separate to the book. They just weren't woven in, when they easily could have been.

Mary was too perfect. Not once did she question her beliefs or even attempt to justify them. And the reason: because although she was an orphan, she had a pretty great life. Money, beauty, and never experiencing any oppression to fuel her feminist mindset. To put it simply, she lacked depth.

But one could argue that I'm looking too far into this, as the real focus is the mystery - one worthy of Conan Doyle and reflecting his style beautifully, giving some ideas a bit of a twist to create another overall impressive insight into the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Find this review on Goodreads


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