Monday, April 10, 2017

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date of publication: January 2017

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 more than 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

I read the first book, A Study in Charlotte and liked it enough to want to read more about Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson.  I snatched up The Last of August as soon as  it was available on audio.   The story takes place pretty much right after the events of the first book.  Charlotte and Jamie are on winter holiday with their families.  Charlotte's uncle goes missing and the duo teams up to figure out what happened. Sounds exciting, right?  Um..not especially.

I was so disappointed with this book.  First, I'm not sure  Taking them out of the high school environment was the way to go.  I felt like the duo lost something outside of the school setting.  They are 16, yet they are able to traipse all over Europe like they were adults. It just wasn't believable to me.  I also found that I didn't like either main character anymore.  Jamie was angsty and whiny and Charlotte was almost robot-like and kind of over dramatic at times. The mystery of the art fraud was pretty boring.  The reveal is pretty much in the middle of the book. 

The biggest issue I had with this story was the story-line of Charlotte's date rape from the first book.  Why is everyone ignoring this?  How does a 16 year old know that therapy won't help?  Trying little experiments with her best friend to see if she can not flinch really isn't the way to go.  I found her treatment of Jamie was so unfair.  The poor kid just wants to help her and she constantly pushed him away with no desire to help herself realistically.  I know that Charlotte is supposed to be a genius, but at the end of the day, she is still a lost 16 year old girl who needs therapy.  The "adult" problems put on these kids just didn't work for me.  This also makes me want to keep this to an over 16 crowd.  I wouldn't let my 13 year old read this

The ending was confusing and rushed.  I have no idea what even happened.  I kept thinking maybe I missed a disc or something, but no...that is how is ended.  I may peek at the next one to see if some of this can be resolved.  It might be nice if a "Holmes" character could have some peace and happiness at some point.  In the end, I'm not sure I can really recommend this sequel.  It definitely does not hold up as a stand alone.  If you decide you want to give it a try, I would recommend reading the first one before this one.  Otherwise, you will be lost.

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