Book: Every Breath
Author: Ellie Marney
So as I mentioned the last time I did a review for you guys, January (and yes, I have to say January and not this month now because it’s officially February and how crazy is that?) was a dedicated Sherlock month to celebrate the return of Sherlock and this was my second Sherlock retelling of January. I honestly can’t remember how I heard about this one, I guess it was through other blogs, anyway I added it to my TBR and thanks to my awesome former #otspsecretsister Chantelle, got it for my birthday last year. I didn’t really know anything about it, other than it was a Sherlock retelling set in Australia, so I went in with no expectations and then came out pleasantly surprised by how good it was! I’m not going to lie, it was a slow starter, it took me a long time before I was engaged with story and the characters but once I was, the book did not let go of me right up to the very end! Here is a short synopsis of the book:
Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.
James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who’s also a genius with a passion for forensics.
Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.
When Rachel and Mycroft follows the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…
As I said, this was a slow and rather confusing starter. Events happened at the start of the first chapter that seemed to have no connection with the later chapters and honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what the fight Mycroft was in at the start had anything to do with the rest of the book. It didn’t help that despite only being a 300 odd page book, the chapters were rather long so it took a while for me to really become engaged with the book.
I think part of my original ambivalence towards the book was the fact that I didn’t love Rachel to begin with and since she was narrating the story, that made things a little difficult. I appreciated that she was struggling with the move away from home and everything, and I did like that she wasn’t finding everything easy, but man did she whine sometimes! She did grow on me towards the end, but I still found her kind of flat for the most part. I don’t know if that was just because she’s the Watson character, & not as charismatic as Sherlock, but I just found it hard to connect to her. I liked Mycroft a lot more, he was a mysterious, eccentric, charismatic, cheeky, genius and just felt a lot more colourful than Rachel.
The romance, OMG the romance. I never thought I would say that the romance was my favourite part of a book, but here I am saying it, the romance was my favourite part of this book. The chemistry between Watts and Mycroft is palpable and you spend the entire time just wanting them to kiss already, it’s such a perfect friends-to-lovers slow burn romance and I really loved it. I will say that I would have loved more background on Mycroft and Rachel’s relationship. We’re just kind of thrown in at the start and we never get to see how they met and how they became such good friends. I mean, it doesn’t matter too much because their relationship is incredibly well drawn anyway, but I would have loved to see their first meeting.
I loved how realistic most aspects of this book were as well (there were some things that bordered on the edge of unrealistic, but I will talk more about that in the next section). Rachel has a present family who struggle with completely realistic family problems and financial difficulties, Rachel and Mycroft both go to school and have a close group of friends who are present in their lives and despite not understanding some of the Australian slang, I loved the fact that it was there because it added authenticity to the setting and to the characters because they felt like real teenagers as opposed to mini-adults as I swear often teenagers in YA books speak far too properly and never use slang which is completely unrealistic.
I did enjoy the mystery, I thought it was engaging and clever and I didn’t work out who did it until literally just before Mycroft did! I had theories, but they were all totally wrong (like always!). I did however think that certain aspects of Mycroft and Watts’ detective work was a little unrealistic, especially the part where they went to see Dave’s body at the morgue and the pathologist basically tells them all the autopsy findings without so much as a question. I get that it was needed for the plot, but there’s no way that would happen in real life. It did feel like they just got lucky occasionally when solving the crime and that answers just fell into their laps, but I get that in crime novels there sometimes have to be lucky chances/liberties taken with realism in order to get the characters to the end point of discovering who the murderer is.
I love all of the little subtle nods to Sherlock during the book, it was nice to have those there without it feeling like just a complete rehash of Sherlock Holmes story, you could tell that Marney had been inspired by Sherlock, but that she’d taken the character and done something completely new with it, which for me, is what retellings are all about.
The second half of the book was a lot better than the first for me. Sure, the forensics stuff was pretty interesting, but I definitely got more hooked when Watts and Mycroft were doing more active investigations for the case, actually talking to people and being active than just theorising and talking about forensics and stuff, which I felt bogged down the first half of the book a little. The climax however was thrilling, I couldn’t stop turning pages, which is great for the climax of a crime novel.
I really liked the end, I thought it was cute and I liked that everything was wrapped up, so even though you know there is a sequel (which is great because I want to find out more about what happened to Mycroft’s parents, an unsolved mystery that’s introduced in this book) you’re not left hanging on an awful cliffhanger.
Overall, this was a relatively engaging, mystery/crime novel, with interesting characters, an incredibly shippable romance, lovely subtle little nods to Sherlock and a great setting. I look forward to reading the next book to see where Watts and Mycroft go next!
My Rating: 3.5/5
My next review will be of the much hyped new release, Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.