“It’s strange to grieve for your former self, and still I think it’s something that any girl understands. I’ve shed so many skins, I hardly know what I am now—muscle, maybe, or just memory. Perhaps just the will to keep going.”
Synopsis: Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming morethan friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.
A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.
Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.
What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
Age Group & Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: 2017
And here we are, continuing on this epic buddy read journey with Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca and Sofia @ Bookish Wanderess. I still don’t know if I prefer book one or two at the moment, but the second book was still a pretty interesting read. After we answered some buddy read question prompts about the book, we realized we had RATHER different thoughts regarding the novel. Sofia and I seem to be on opposite ends, while Rebecca is somewhere in the middle (I think closer aligned with Sofia though) … and THIS is why it’s important to have so many of us book bloggers ha-ha.
So don’t just take my review to heart … make sure you take a look at Sofia and Rebecca’s thoughts as well on The Last of August!
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains topics regarding anger issues, blood, death (murder), drugs (drug addiction), pills, rape (sexual assault- mentioned) and trauma (PTSD).
The complicated and tense yet hilarious relationship between Holmes and Watson’s still in play, building upon its predecessor. In A Study in Charlotte, Watson and Holmes are basically THROWN into one another’s lives due to a series of mysterious events. But right from the beginning, the two have this complex yet comical “dynamic duo” relationship that really makes you fall for them. In The Last of August, this relationship still holds true. Though they have their ups and downs, Cavallaro still manages to focus on Holmes and Watson’s “unique” relationship by building upon the banter and the complexity, which sheds more light on them as individuals and as “partners in crime” (if you will).
Building off the previous point, The Last of August opens readers to more insight on Watson and Holmes characters. Through a number of different events, we learn more about the “whys” regarding Watson and Holmes’ personality traits and characteristics. A look into Holmes’ family and through reading from her point of view sheds light as to her reasons for having a rather socially awkward personality in addition to her anxieties towards intimacy. Watson’s solo mystery solving adventures gives us insight towards his insecurities regarding his abilities, especially with a friend like Holmes.
Though some elements were obvious, the events leading up to the ending were a shock to say the least. Due to a number of factors and clues, I had a good feeling of what was going to happen in the end. But the events leading up to it and the mysteries surrounding those particular events went WAY over my head. The last couple of chapters had my confusion growing, thinking I actually had NO idea what was going on anymore. Cavallaro definitely uses a number of distractions to keep readers in the dark. However, this COULD be different for those who tend to read more mysteries.
The mystery in The Last of August was fairly confusing, and the lack of action and intensity was a let down. I will say, Cavallaro’s new mystery did keep me guessing, which I greatly enjoyed since the first book had a rather obvious outcome … but I was rather perplexed the whole time. I don’t even know if I fully understand the entire mystery still. Similar to Rebecca’s comment, it’s as though Cavallaro took the LONG way around this mystery at points. There also wasn’t nearly as much intensity as A Study in Charlotte, worrying constantly for the safety of Watson and Holmes. Nor was the action that grand. If anything, it left me a little disappointed.
Similar to its predecessor, the pacing seemed rather off. Maybe it’s just a ME thing, but I don’t like when such GRAND events take place in a span of … a week or so? It makes the whole story feel less genuine and believable. Yes … I know it’s fiction … but the solving of such a mystery, the planning it goes into half of their escapades … these things TYPICALLY take time. The short time frame and pacing also doesn’t allow for more character and plot development, at least in a “neat and well put” fashion.
Connecting to the previous point, the “brief description of events in passing” rather than “experiencing them with the characters” was excruciatingly frustrating. Random trips to the coffee shop, exploration of museums and fun events, travelling from one country to the next … THESE are INCREDIBLE ways to draw out more about the characters through social (dialogue based) interactions. But yet again, Cavallaro has Watson simply DESCRIBE IN BRIEF these events (i.e. some of their trips during the holidays BEFORE the big mystery comes into play). It just seems like a missed opportunity to have more time with Holmes and Watson in their everyday lives.
Cavallaro’s The Last of August provides a wealth of mystery, comical relief and character insight. Although the plot was a roller-coaster of confusion at times, the story still felt interesting and left me curious enough to continue on.
I DO recommend this novel if you enjoy:
↠ Complex mysteries with multiple layers
↠ Alternating POVs
↠ Retelling’s of classics
↠ A blend of comedy and darker tones
I DO NOT recommend this novel if you dislike:
↠ Mysteries that lack action
↠ Underdeveloped plots and characters due to pacing
↠ Overly complicated plots
↠ Highly plot-driven novels
Have you read Brittany Cavallaro’s The Last of August?