Author: Andrew Lane
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Available: February 1st, 2011
First Line: "The first time Matthew Arnatt saw the cloud of death, it was floating out of the first-floor window of a house near where he was living."
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
When I was first ask to review this I was really hesistant. I love Sherlock Holmes (though I haven't read the original books)--especially the latest film, but mystery and murder isn't my usual cup of tea. So when I said yes I was taking a big risk, but I wanted to see how Sherlock Holmes would act as a young teenager. And in the end it was worth the risk, I loved it.
At the age of fourteen, Sherlock must spend the summer with his estrange aunt and uncle. What he thinks will be a boring holiday turns into a adventure of a life time. Along side him is Matty (a friend he met coincidentally), Amyus Crowe (tutor) and Virgina (tutor's daughter, Sherlock's crush).
Andrew Lane has made the book so their is never a dull moment at hand. As a reader you'll be able to quickly jump into it and even spend most of the book trying to solve the mystery.
The characters in the book are all lovable, though I enjoyed Virgina the most. She represented a strong female lead, and was not at all a damsel-in-distress. I was saddened that she didn't have a lot of spotlight in the book, and hope that in the next she will.
My thoughts on Sherlock's young self compared to his older self are purely based on how Robert Downey Jr portrayed him. I haven't read the original Sherlock Holmes novels so I can't really get a complete grasp on his older self. In this book Sherlock is at the beginning of his journeys. He's smart but not mega smart. I kind of like that because it shows that Sherlock gained his knowledge through education and experience, not having it naturally. I think Sherlock Holmes (whether young or old) is a great role model because he shows that with hard work and dedication you can achieve a level of knowledge that can help make the world a better place. Most young adults think school is a waste, maybe even me a bit, and Sherlock shows that he needed education and experience to become the great hero he became when he was older.
The only down side to this book was some of the description was foggy and hard to understand. As well as by the end of the book it kind of dragged. The antagonist of the book was simple to figure out, it was the mystery and actions of the villain that were hard to solve.
Overall I enjoyed Death Cloud and will definitely be keeping an eye out for it's sequel.