A Study in Ashes - Emma Jane Holloway

(I got this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

A pretty interesting ending to the plots in this series (and probably the beginning to another arc), that ties up all elements together, and have they all meet on the final "battlefield" of London, if I may say so.

However, while I appreciated this novel, I thought it lost itself, compared to what was developed in the first volume. As a steampunk-themed story, it was enjoyable, but I felt as if its initial spark had died down somewhere along the way. The potential for mystery and investigation I expected from Evelina (as well as from Holmes' presence) kind of took the back-burner. Evie was more passive, in a way, going through events more as a victim than as a strong person; granted, she's been through quite a few hardships, and those had to take their toll, and yet, in spite of the understanding she gained from them, I thought she was somewhat... diminished. In a weird way (weird, because those were things I had enjoyed in A Study In Silks), this time the detective/mystery aspect was feeble and unneeded. Had it been a different setting, with Holmes left out, I might actually have found this story better, more able to stand on its own two feet.

I also can't make up my mind about the Imogen subplot. It was like a side-story, related to the main plot through the characters, but not bearing any weight on the main events. I kept having the nagging feeling that at some point, the author hadn't been sure what to do with Imogen anymore, except having her tag along, and gave her a new part for her and Poppy to have something to do. Only that part was mostly disconnected from the others.

On the other hand, I quite enjoyed Alice, who turned out to be the person I hoped the indeed was. I wished she would've had a more important role.

Consider it at 2.5 stars for now. Maybe I'll knock it the extra half-star later on. Right now, I'm still bothered by the way some of its plots were tackled.