The Affair of the Mysterious Letter – Vansonphu.com
Hands down, I m not sure if I ve ever read a quirky and original retelling, and I absolutely loved this The Affair of the Mysterious Letter is a fantasy retelling involving Sherlock Holmes characters Captain John Wyndham is returning to Khelathra Ven after fighting a war elsewhere for five years He is desperate for someone where to live and winds up with Ms Shaharazad Haas as a housemate She s a moody one, Ms Haas, and is known for darkness Ms Haas is asked to solve a case of blackmail against a former lover, and Captain Wyndham becomes invested in the case and drawn into the rabbit hole where he meets all kinds of unsavory characters The case begins to feel impossible to solve, but nothing is truly impossible when Ms Haas is involved I loved this quirky, zany tribute to Holmes and Watson What a trip Alexis Hall s writing is on point, and the pacing is so well done, I just breezed through this fabulous story I start to write something and back it back out because I don t want to overshare the goodness within these pages Just know Alexis Hall is a born storyteller, this book is fresh and tons of fun, and I m certain you ve read nothing like it either Cheers to Alexis Hall I received a complimentary copy All opinions are my own My reviews can also be found on my blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com So, I have mentioned how well Hall s romances work for me How brilliant I think he is Creative.And now that s painfully obvious with the release of this full fledged fantasy retelling Most astounding though, is I ve read three thoroughly different styles from Hall and with the exception of pieces of this feeling slightly repetitive, probably with good reason and not that I minded BecauseI ve mentioned how well Boulton works for me as a narrator though in this he isn t adopting his usual voice 90% of the time, which was a good choice for Wyndham s character This book put them together So um was there any doubt It s zany and fun and really really delightful It spans monsters and sexuality and verses..It s a huge ball of imagination wrapped in a tiny little book and PLEASE tell me there will be.Also, might be my favorite introduction scene for two characters. Absolutely gleeful A wildly enjoyable Holmes Watson riff in a mad Lovecraftian fantasy world where reality is optional at best Holmes is a drug addled sorceress, while Watson is a buttoned up refugee from a terrifyingly puritanical country, and a large part of the fun is how he attempts to narrate a story of wild sex, appalling behaviour and a lot of swearing without actually putting any such shocking material on paper It s very meta, as Wyndham comments on the goings on from a distance of twenty years I particularly liked his argument with his editor about whether it s possible to have a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter when he is writing this now which clearly means he isn t going to die It s bursting with invention, horrors, good jokes, and bonkers characters Also, fantastically queer throughout Wyndham is a gay trans man and there s some lovely hints of a future romance that I really want to read, Shaharazad is pansexual and that s probably understating the matter , their client is hoping to save her forthcoming marriage to a woman despite a chequered history It s not a complete Holmes analogue though there are lots of satisfying little riffs , using the odd couple as a jumping off point, as the detective here works by elimination than any great deductive powers This is fine with me, as if I want to read about amazing deductive powers, there is actual Sherlock Holmes The mystery here is far an excuse to roam around a fantastic world with fantastic characters I can t say this bothered me in the slightest the book could have been twice as long with my goodwill Intensely readable and brilliant fun I really hope there will be of these. This is without a doubt my favorite book of the year so far and my favorite fantasy pastiche of all time It would take one hell of a book to usurp The Affair of the Mysterious Letter s first place position Even though this is a fantasy pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, the likeness to the characters and their peculiarities is absolutely remarkable The writing is also phenomenal I really, really, hope further adventures of Shaharazad Hass and Captain John Wyndham will be coming to us soon I need of these two immediately If you re a Sherlock Holmes fan and like the fantasy genre, then this is a must read right now You won t be disappointed I received this ARC from Penguin Random House and the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review Thank you I was lucky enough to get a galley from my editor and OMG I loved this book so much It was a sheer delight to read and has dragged me out of a massive reading slump that lasted for months Honestly, do yourself a favour and get it as soon as it comes out It s like the joy of reading Gail Carriger s Soulless all over again, but wrapped in a gleeful love affair with Sherlock Holmes Read it READ IT. I won a GR giveaway for this one, but it pains me to say it was not for me I DNFed it really early because it was just not holding my interest There was a lot of exposition that was pretty dry, and I wasn t hooked enough to plow through it. In this charming, witty, and weird fantasy novel, Alexis Hall pays homage to Sherlock Holmes with a new twist on those renowned characters Upon returning to the city of Khelathra Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk His new housemate is Ms Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.When Ms Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham finds himself drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark But the further the companions go in pursuit of the elusive blackmailer, theimpossible the case appears Then again, in Khelathra Ven reality is flexible, and the impossible is Ms Haas stock in trade. 3.5 stars This was a really hard book to rate.On the one hand a gender swapped well, for the sorceress and queer as hell retelling of Sherlock Holmes, set in a complex fantasy world On the other hand a Sherlock Holmes retelling written in the style of the original books.After an unfortunate injury that prevented him from serving in the military, Captain John Wyndham, feeling adrift from his religiously conservative home and not welcome in his father s house , returns to the city of his university days, gets a job as an alchemist in a hospital, and finds a housemate in the form of the infamous sorceress Shaharazad Haas, who is just as brilliant as she is drug addled if you re wondering, she is very drug addled.When Haas ex girlfriend shows up with a letter and demands that Haas figure out who is blackmailing her from marrying her fishmonger fianc e, Haas drags Wyndham all over the three cities of Khelathra Ven to discover the culprit Haas and Wyndham have a list and they are going to use deduction, logic and a whole lot of luck to figure it out.It s a good story, but I felt like it was lost in the mountains of exposition and Wyndham bless his ooey, gooey soul he s so precious choosing to tell us what happened versus showing us what happened I kept reading, hoping it would get better and that the action sequences would beactionybut it did not.At first, I was digging Wyndham s long winded way of telling things, with the hope that eventually he d cut it out and get to the story, but I was waiting for him to cut it out and get to the story forthe entire story I felt like half the book was him going, oh no dear reader, I cannot show you this, or this person did not actually say that word, or accidentally spoiling what was to come by telling us what was to come and how it turned out before it happened It s a schtick that gets old very quickly.The summary promises drowned cities okay, Ven was pretty cool , vampire seduction much of it edited out by our favorite prude Wyndham , punching a shark like a graze, actually, because water drags a lot , and sky pirates okay, that was pretty cool Thanks to the mass amounts of exposition, it felt like each chapter draaaaaagged on, and despite how utterly fascinating the world was, I found myself reluctant to pick this up It felt like it took me forever to read forever being three days, which is forever based on how short this is.Oh sweet pickles, I m starting to write like the book Anywho I really appreciate this book, despite my previous complaints Dammit, still like the book Khelathra Ven is a fascinating city, and the world was complex and deliciously weird.There are really creepy vampires, bending reality, lots of oozing sores and ichor, and a landlady that is really just a hive of very annoyed bees I mean, I d be annoyed too if Shaharazad Haas was my tenant and she kept blowing holes into walls and destroying perfectly nice watercolor paintings who possesses rotting dead bodies in order to have a single, solid form.Shaharazad Haas was the perfect version of Sherlock Holmes and by that I mean a general asshole, degenerate, self interested, druggie genius with waaaaaay confidence and firepower than any one person should possess this is, surprisingly, a compliment John Wyndham, for all his narrative faults, was hilariously uptight but willing to justgo along with things, because well, we never really got that explained He just follows her around and is constantly changing his clothes this was a gimmick that didn t get old, surprisingly because what he is wearing is never fit for the occasion I feel his pain He s also loyal, brave and truthful to a fault as the many interrogations revealpoor Augur Lawson.Finally, the LGBTQIA rep is off the charts John is trans and also gay He mentions a husband but no other lovers , and Shaharazad and much of the rest of the cast seem to be pansexual There are so many queer characters and a lot of diverse representation all around.I just wish that the narration had been a little straight forward.However, if you loved the original Sherlock Holmes novels and are looking for an updated, queer as fuck, gender swapped Sherlock Holmes in a weird fantasy world or just queer fantasy rep in general , this is the book for you.I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review. What a fun tale This is a Sherlockian based tale set off planet and filled with magic, vampires, gods and limitless worlds Come travel with John and Shaharzad Haas as they try to uncover a blackmailer.Witches, underwater cities, shape shifting, flying and await you in this clever tale I loved this female version of Sherlock John Wyndham comes from a deeply religious planet and found after college he couldn t quite move home When he looks for housing on Khelathra Ven, and answers an ad for a flatmate he finds himself at 221b Martyrs Walk.The owner of the dwelling is a hoard of bees and lives in the attic I will let you discover , but as John will tell you, Don t drink the tea Shaharazad Haas is over the top A female sorcerer who uses prohibited magic when it suits her, annoys everyone and yet it seems everyone owes her a favor Why John agrees to live with her, you must discover for yourself John narrates the entire story as he recounts the first case he works with her His explanations and direct conversations with us, the reader were delightful and than once I laughed aloud This is pure fantasy at its best.Because John is speaking to us, the story had a nice flow with pauses, to share information about the planet, place or city we are visiting I thought this was rather clever John s mannerisms and upbringing offered humor as he relayed the outlandish behavior of the brilliant, opinionated and troublesome Haas.Fans of diversity and LGBT storylines will appreciate the refreshing acceptance and characters found within This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer Captain John Wyndham has arrived in Khelathra Ven after suffering an injury in an eternal war on a different plane of existence His meager funds leave him lodging with the peculiar sorceress Shaharazad Haas, and just like the Holmes stories this is based on, soon finds himself involved in her investigations.The setting is cleverly Lovecraftian, and very queer Wyndham is trans and likely gay or bi and the case that is the focus of the book is about blackmailing one of two women who wish to marry who is also a former lover of Haas It s also extremely funny, with Wyndham writing from a very prim and proper point of view that almost no one else in the book shares.It s a little overlong for what it is, and some of the jokes are taken a bit far the word substitution for swearing got a bit old , but overall it was a fun romp through a very weird world from an almost familiar perspective.