Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Review - The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. While the previous book, Locked Rooms, focused on Mary’s past, this one circles around to Holmes' past. It introduces his son Damian (whose mother is Irene Adler), a man who has had his own share of problems and is maybe not of the same breed as Holmes, but not a bad guy either. In fact, a family man with a wife and daughter whom he is devoted to. He’s also an artist. We also get more of Mycroft in this book, which is a treat.

The mystery begins with the disappearance of Damian’s wife, Yolanda, and morphs into the hunt for a mad, would be cult leader. The story, while good, seemed a bit disjointed in the beginning. There’s a story line involving bees that I thought might play into the main story, but it didn’t. Not really. There were other events, found via perusal of the papers, that seemed strange to Russell, which did tie into the main mystery. Damian comes to Holmes for help in finding Yolanda and his daughter. Yolanda is known for her spiritual exploration and has taken trips in the past, but this time Damian doesn't know where she went. At first, Holmes helps Damian solo, but when Damian disappears, he and Russell team up, basically headquartering out of Mycroft's London townhouse.

The narrative jumped back and forth between Holmes and Russell, which is a little different from previous novels where we usually just get Russell’s viewpoint and Holmes’ movements and investigations as told to Russell. I didn’t mind it, though, and rather liked it. It was nice to not get Holmes movements second hand, so to speak. Holmes for obvious reasons doesn't really want to provide all details to the police which puts him somewhat on the opposite side of the police. In fact, the police are a bit contrary with Holmes, which seemed to go a bit against the original series, though this is set several years in the future.

I didn't care for Russell's almost derogatory comments about Watson (never have), but there were few of them. Russell has never held him in high regard as far his help to Holmes in the past and I've never really gotten that. Holmes relied on Watson quite a bit back in the day and knew he would would always come through.

There are a lot characters in this story, but the more I read, the more it all seemed to flow together. The pace picked as the book progressed, though I found the detail for the plane ride excruciating. I thought it would never end and really wished it would have sooner; it just went on for way longer than it needed too.

The end wasn’t really the end and that was a bit of disappointment. It was a set-up for the next book, The God of the Hive. This isn’t really a bad thing, just a teeny, tiny, little disappointment as there is no true resolution.

I enjoyed this book enough that I’m now reading The God of the Hive. I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the series. If your new to this series, I’d recommend starting with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

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