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THE INITIATION by Ridley Pearson


From the Lock and Key series, volume 1

by Ridley Pearson

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-239901-4
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Set in modern-day Boston, this first in a new series chronicles the interactions between high school age Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, James Moriarty.

Moria, James’ younger sister, narrates, chronicling the first clashes between the famous archrivals. James, already angry at being forced to attend Baskerville Academy according to family tradition, is further enraged when he is paired with Sherlock Holmes for a roommate. Sherlock is prideful and talks too much, and true to character, he is unapologetic for his intellect. When the Moriarty family Bible goes missing from its display case, the school is put into lockdown. Both James and Sherlock believe that the administration’s extreme reaction is proof that the Bible holds secret information. But while Sherlock applies his intellect to the mystery, James relies on deception and bullying. Lengthy narrative passages and long-winded monologues slow down the action. And although Moria and Sherlock’s budding romance is sweet, their endless banter is both repetitive and exhausting. Further, James’ sudden shift in character from loving brother to cruel criminal mastermind–in-training is abrupt and unsupported. It is never clear why he hates Sherlock so much, which makes him seem like a petulant child rather than an evil genius. Though the Moriartys are now Boston Brahmins, Pearson does not deviate so far from canon as to depict his leads as anything other than white.

A disappointing reinvention of beloved characters.

(Mystery. 8-12)