The Beekeeper's ApprenticeA Novel of Suspense Featuring

The Beekeeper's ApprenticeA Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes This was an easy read nicely written with some interesting characters but a couple of problems for me Firstly I was uncomfortable with Mary only being fifteen She is a very mature fifteen but it seemed far fetched that she could have had the freedom to do as she does in this story Secondly I struggled with her relationship with Holmes The author tried to explain it as fatherdaughter partner associate friend and towards the end when she has aged a little than just a friend None of these worked for me I wish the story had started with Mary as at least 30 Conseuently I uite liked this book but will probably not seek out the rest of the series Let me begin by saying that I am a huge fan of mystery novels I especially love the character of Sherlock Holmes so I was very excited when I picked up The Beekeeper's Apprentice I really wanted to like this book and hoped that it would propel me into a new and exciting mystery seriesHow wrong I wasFirst of all Mary Russell the narrator may as well have been named Mary Sue Russell This book is nothing but a fanfic that was lucky enough to be published because the main characters are out of copyright The narrator's voice is arrogant condescending and generally annoying I found her unlikeable in the extreme Since a large part of the novel involves Mary being in danger it lead me to not really care what happened in the story The narrator is so full of herself that it takes the author about 13 of the book to even get into the action of the story The first third is Mary Russell the most wonderful smart independent girl in the world who is lucky enough to befriend Sherlock Holmes I love good character development but it needs to occur within the context of the plot not have pages upon pages dedicated to it and not allow the story to progressThe writing style of the author is drawn out in such a way that it takes you out of the action What should take a sentence or two to describe seems to take the author at least a page And in the middle of the most exciting part of the book Holmes and Mary decide to go on holiday in PalistineEXCUSE ME WHY would you break up the momentum of the story like thatWhen the culprit is finally revealed it is out of left field There is no way for the reader to be able to go back and see how the enemy did it The author even has the audacity to claim the importance of the culprit to Mary in the final pages of the book If this person wasn't important enough for than the reuired passing mention then they really aren't important to the storyFinally my two biggest grievances The first is the horror that I felt when I realized that Laurie King was gearing up for a full fledged romance to bud between a 17 year old girl and a 60 something year old man That's when it truly became a teenage girl's fanfic I don't understand why King couldn't have let Mary view Sherlock as a father figure Why did the romance have to come into itThe second really heinous thing that Ms King has done is completely RUIN the character of Dr Watson I don't know what her beef is but I do know that anyone writing a book using the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson should do Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the courtesy of actually reading his short stories and novels and not rely on how the characters have been portrayed in the movies and on TV It is obvious that Ms King did not understand the relationship of Watson and Holmes to each other She treated Watson as though he was a dim witted second cousin that is to be pitied Mary continually refers to Uncle John as a doddering old fool something that made me want to fling the book across the room She had Mary belittle Watson and explain that Holmes just barely tolerated him It was that bad that she had Holmes completely forget about Watson at a critical momemt choosing to have him be so concerned about Mary's life that it isn't until perfect Mary Sue I mean Mary Russell reminds him of Watson that he even remembers that Watson's life is in dangerLaurie R King do your research before destroying beloved characters I will not be reading any of this series My friend Veronica Belmont recommended this book and after I watched the first episode of season 2 of the BBC Sherlock OMG IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS I got fixated on Holmes and needed this bookITS SO GOOD What a great reinterpretation of Holmes and his young apprentice who grows to become his eual The partnership that is formed between the two of them is so organic and believable and Mary Russell is a whip smart protagonist that I rooted for on every page It's definitely not a romance book it's much a character studymystery so anyone should enjoy this for sure 40 stars I went through a lot of turmoil both in deciding to read this book and then while I was reading it The Pre read turmoil stems from the fact that while I have always liked the “idea” of the character of Sherlock Holmes I have not always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories that I have read They have been a bit dry for my taste However I LOVED The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which took the character of Sherlock Holmes and put him in bizarre and uniue surroundings ie fantasy SF and horror genre settings I thought this was a perfect marriage and still think that Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” is one of the best “Sherlock Holmes” stories ever writtenSo when I started looking up the background for this book I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a new fresh take on Sherlock Holmes or simply another Holmes mystery with Mary Russell acting like a FEMALE Sherlock Holmes which we have all seen beforecase in point JUST KIDDING BUT IT WAS TOO GOOD TO PASS UP Well I started the book and was instantly taken with both the character of Mary Russell and the prose and writing style of Laurie King I also found that I really liked the character of Sherlock Holmes who was both instantly recognizable as the singularly brilliant master of deduction but was also an older mellower “human” individual that made relating to him much easier Now during the course of actually reading the novel which has the duo of Holmes and Russell investigating several mysteries I did find parts of it that were dry and plodding and had me leaning towards giving the book a 3 star rating However the growing relationship between Russell and Holmes together with the climax of the book and the scenes with the “mystery villain” were simply OUTSTANDING and worthy of 5 stars Thus all in all I thought that 4 stars was a pretty accurate representation of how I felt about the book I think the rating of “true blue” mystery novel fans may be a bit higher and for those that don’t generally enjoy the genre you might rate this a tad lower However I think most people will agree that the prose is excellent the characters are very well drawn and the achievement of taking a character like Holmes who is so incredibly well known and show him in a new and fresh light while keeping him completely recognizable was superbly down For that point alone Ms King gets Recommended Mary Russell also known as The Beekeeper's Apprentice proves to be a wonderful addition to the Sherlock Holmes mythosWhen 15 year old Mary Russell almost tripped over the peculiar man while he was obsessively studying his bees she never imagined such an accidental and clumsy encounter would change her life forever But as it turns out that man was semi retired detective Sherlock Holmes and when the precocious Mary is able to match wits with him both with her deductive reasoning and her acerbic wit a friendship begins to bloom After training with Holmes for the next few years Mary proves to be a valuable enough student that Holmes lets her begin to work with him on cases However when Mary's contributions manage to thwart the machinations of a rising figure in the criminal underworld Mary earns a new admirer An admirer who understands exactly how much of a threat Mary can be And now this unseen adversary wants to make sure that Mary's next case is also her lastI shan't tell a lie I went into this book with some apprehensionit always makes me nervous when an author incorporates a classical character into their own books As it turns out my fears were for naught Laurie King does such a masterful job writing about Sherlock Holmes and his new apprentice that I often found myself checking the cover to make absolutely sure it wasn't really written by Sir Arthur Conan DoyleThe book begins with an editor's note from Laurie King informing us that the following story was not written by her at all but rather was pieced together from documents written by an MRH Laurie claims to have stumbled upon these writings in a mysterious package and has no idea if the events are partially or even at all true Some might see this is a cop out but upon reading the book I felt that King's rather odd claim worked beautifully with the story There are times that Mary seems just a little too good at everythingshe can deduce she can fight she can drive she can juggleshe can do just about anything that doesn't reuire her to have come from the planet Krypton But by giving us this disclaimer the reader can now choose to believe that if Mary seems just a little too perfect it may be simply be because she's embellishing things slightly not too hard to believe considering that Mary often comes across as arrogant even in her own writings Perhaps this truly was a cop out by Laurie King but I still felt it managed to enhance the story rather than detract from itWhile there are a few characters that come and go the story is definitely all about Mary Sherlock One thing that really amazed me about Mary was how she managed to be both amazing and flawed Yes she's brilliant she's courageousbut she's also snippy at times and snobby pretty much always Mary is very effectively portrayed as some who's just a little too smart for her own good someone who knows so much about the world but still manages to feel like an outsider in it By developing such a multi faceted character the author successfully gives Holmes a perfect companion someone who shares many of his own talents and uirks Another thing I really enjoyed was how the relationship between Mary and Holmes progressed Rather than just throw Mary immediately into the action King chooses to have Mary work on a couple of much smaller cases first Once Mary proves her mettle Holmes allows her to join him in his investigation of the kidnapping of an American senator's daughter Throughout that case Mary again demonstrates what a valuable asset she is to Holmes One of my biggest turn offs in novels is when a relationship develops just a little too uickly not a fan of the insta love plot device as many of my past reviews will collaborate So imagine my delight when I found that Russell's partnership with Holmes was paced so effectively It really did feel like I was watching a student grow as a detective throughout the novel rather than watching a character get thrust into the spotlight just a little too uicklyAs for the story itself I felt Laurie King knocked it out of the park The mysteries are enthralling and the dialogue is full of wit The set ups of all the various cases are uite clever and the way Holmes and Russell solve them even so In addition there is a lot in here that will please just about any Sherlock Holmes fan The book almost plays like a greatest hits version of the original Holmes mysteries with Holmes and now Russell often donning disguises cracking codes and analyzing clues just like in Doyle's mysteries Also many significant characters in the Sherlock Holmes mythos are referenced Some actually make an appearance and others are merely mentioned but it's than enough to prove Laurie King didn't just slap Holmes in her book to make it sell better King truly has an intimate knowledge of Doyle's work And I must confess all the nods to the earlier Holmes stories made this Baker Street Irregular smile on many an occasionKing even does a masterful job with her prose When Holmes and Russell make an unexpected side trip to Palestine late in the novel I feared that King was about to make a huge misstep and was throwing this in merely to prolong the mystery But as it turned out this act contained one of the most poignant moments between Holmes and Russell involving a revelation the two sleuths come to after a particularly aggressive game of chess Also King's descriptions of the surroundings are uite poetic at times and lends an additional layer of beauty to everything Remarkably King pulls this off while writing this all from the egotistical Mary's point of view There are times when the narrator seems almost cruel to the people she interact with particularly Dr Watson whom Mary seems to view as a rival who needs to be cut down by her But even in these moments King pulls off a tremendous balancing act where it comes off not as if King herself is disrespecting Watson but rather Mary's own insecurities that are seeping through in her rather harsh observations A magical continuation of the Sherlock Holmes legend If you've ever read a Sherlock Holmes bookor have even considered reading a Holmes book you owe it to yourself to investigate this delightful mystery Mary Russell says I don't know why Mr Green keeps saying I'm egotistical that's simply not true Now if you'll excuse me I must continue reading my own book and admiring how awesome I am Let’s get this out of the way up front I’m in the tank for Sherlockian pastiches That’s not to say that I love them unreservedly and unabashedly mind you or even consume them in mass uantities; but it does mean that I’m very open to them particularly if they do one of two things 1 hew as closely as possible to the canonical stories in terms of style feel and setting making allowances for twists and spins that add a well crafted element of modern sensibility see for example the BBC’s Sherlock; or 2 hew closely to the canonical stories in terms of style feel and setting but creepily work in actual supernatural phenomenon something that Holmes himself would frown in if he could ever be bothered to take the needle out of his arm see for example The Revenant of Thraxton Hall The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle If they do one of those things I’m totally there and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is a sterling example of the former alas none of the bees are zombies; I consider it a missed opportunitynext time perhapsFairly or not Watson has become something of a punching bag over the course of time the moronic everyman whose dim witted loyalty made him the ideal companion and chronicler but pretty useless as a partner Enter teenager Mary Russell a better suited complement to Holmes whose intellectual horsepower is eual to Holmes’ own but whose lack of practical experience makes her the ideal lump of clay for Holmes to mold into his successor Holmes hasn’t uite entered his dotage but is semi retired and seemingly content to keep his bees until Russell stumbles into his life around the time of the Great War which puts some necessary distance between the canon and this tale Hijinks ensue when a mysterious foe starts trying to bump off Sherlock and his closest friends—though is said foe REALLY trying to shuffle them off the mortal coil or does this nefarious villain have an ulterior motive—or at least an intermediate goal before shuffling the whole pack of ‘em off the mortal coil I won’t spoil the tale though I will say that my theory on who was behind this shenanigannery proved to be far less astute than my long ago contention that Hootie and the Blowfish is the most underrated band of the 90s WHO’S LAUGHING NOW HUH HUH MUSIC SNOBS WHO IS LAUGHING AT THE MOST POPULAR TICKET OF THE SUMMER OF 2019 BECAUSE I AM NOT AND WHY AM I STILL YELLING What I will say is that King marvelously captures the vibe spirit cleverness and adventure of a Holmes yarn while answering in a way that is if not definitive certainly archetypal the uestion of what Holmes would have been like if he had been a womanSide note I understand that our burgeoning understanding of gender fluidity might make the notion of a “male” Holmes and a “female” Holmes objectionable to some but King so thoughtfully considers the similarities and differences of men’s and women’s minds at least as we have historically perceived those distinctions that she indelibly renders a character who while undoubtedly indebted to her prototype is wholly her own person and one whose further exploits I look forward to readingA huge thanks to Allie for the recommendation delight Go read her fabulous review See It's not just me Ok I got to page 60 and am calling it uitsThe Watson bashing is already in full swingThere is a scene that was basically copied out of Pride and PrejudiceThis is all wrong and too disturbingI'm sorry I am just not compatible with pastiche when it concerns my favourite characters Beautiful and entertaining I'm not sure I'll read the next ones in the series but The Beekeeper's Apprentice was even better than I expectedMore detailed comment to follow Sherlock Holmes pastichecontinuationfanfic in which Holmes retired to beekeeping in Sussex is so impressed by the intelligence of 15 year old feminist Mary 'Sue' Russell that he decides to take her on as his apprentice detective Wacky adventures ensueOkay There were some good things about this book King's prose is enjoyable enough and her dialogue is suitably witty The narrative is rather too episodic for my taste but there are some nice atmospheric touches And I like the idea of Holmes being surprised being slowly won over by someone However HOWEVERThere were two things I just couldn't get past The first is that Russell really is so very much the epitome of Mary Sue dom; she's smart and pretty and everyone likes her and oh Is that a tragic past providing an extra source of sympathetic angst Next it'll be revealed that she has violet eyes and Hogwarts wants her to come join Sparklypoo But you know I could have been generous and gotten past all that for the pleasure of seeing Holmes thrown for a loopWhat I couldn't get past though was how shittily KingRussell treats Watson The bumbling idiot angle is played up A LOT but even worse King makes it seem like Holmes doesn't really care about Watson at all And I'm talking platonically; everyone can be straight in this story for all I care But gone is the Holmes who should be lost without my Boswell; King actually has Holmes forget to warn Watson that he's in danger from a bomber who's targeting Holmes' friends—though he rushed to Mary's side—and nearly costs the condescendingly called Uncle John his life Why is this kind of character assassination necessary It's possible to make new friends and find new lovers without shitting all over the old ones and to insist otherwise seems so amateurish the worst kind of rookie fic writer mistakeI'm actually kind of curious to see where this series goes; King to her credit takes it suitably slow and I want to be convinced by the possibility of Holmes falling for someone Who can resist incredibly brilliant but emotionally fucked up people in love Not I But any further reading of this series is going to be at least somewhat masochistic for me goes to read The Adventure of the Devil's Foot which has a great Watson saves Holmes' life scene to make herself feel better Long retired Sherlock Holmes uietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes's pupil and uickly hones her talent for deduction disguises and danger But when an elusive villain enters the picture their partnership is put to a real test

About the Author: Laurie R. King

THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads please join us for book discussing fun King's 2018 novel Island of the Mad sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from London's Bedlam to the glitter of Venice's Lidowhere Young Things and the friends of Cole Porter pass Mussolini's Blackshirts in the streets The

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