Lock and Key: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson
Summary from the book jacket:
James Moriarty is one of the greatest criminal masterminds the word has ever known. But before he became the scheming, remorseless villain he is now, he was just my older brother, James.
James and I grew up like the Charles River and the cobblestone sidewalks that run alongside it — separate but inseparable. He was fast and rough as only a big grother can be, and I gave him boundaries, which he constantly rolled up against but which we both knew he needed. But that was before Father forced us to enroll at Baskerville Academy. That was before everything changed.
At Baskerville, an elite private boarding school founded by our ancestors, James started drifting to the darkness. It was there he met his roommate, the insufferable Sherlock Holmes. From the very beginning, the two were at each others’ throats, literally and figuratively. But as much as the two frustrated each other, an incident at the school — and some would say destiny — forced the two together.
It started with a missing heirloom Bible and ended with blood spilled, bonds destroyed, and the first glimpse of the evil James Moriarty we think we know today. Every time I take stock of those years, of how much my brother has changed, I can’t help but fault Baskerville, the evil that lies within its hallowed halls, and Sherlock, whose insistence on solving every mystery his finds, I believe, only pushed my brother to commit the crimes he did.
And it all began with a simple note and ended with an initiation.
I was wondering around the children’s section of my local bookstore when I saw the cover for this book. I was immediately drawn to it, curious to know who the kid was and why they were standing in a large keyhole doorway. Then I saw the quote at the bottom from Rick Riordan that it was a “fresh spin on the venerable story of Sherlock Holmes”, and I was hooked. I opened to the inside flap and read the summary I’ve written above and I just knew I wasn’t leaving the store without this book. I was a little surprised that in the top corner of the cover flap it stated that the book was for ages 8-12. From the summary and the length and complexity of the language, I doubt many 8 year olds would pick up this book and read the whole thing. Most 8-9 year olds are still reading books with pictures like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and DragonBreath, just to name a couple. It has been my experience that most kids won’t pick up and read a book like this until they are at least closer to 10 or so. So I would place this squarely in the Tween category of 10-14, maybe even 16.
Putting the age thing aside, this is a good read. I’m a huge Sherlock fan and I try to read almost every book that comes out that says it is based on the characters. Some I have loved, such as Andrew Lane’s Young Sherlock Holmes series, and others I have had mixed feelings about like Heather Petty’s Lock and Mori series. This one lands in the mixed feelings category. I like the premise of the book, the two as roommates at a boarding school and all of the issues that causes. Imagine having Sherlock as a roommate, he would drive anyone crazy. I even like the plot of the missing Bible and all of the clues that the characters need to solve. I have some issues with the narrator. I like Moria, she is clever and puts up with a lot from both Sherlock and James, but I don’t think she makes a reliable narrator. As she states in the opening note ” I have taken certain liberties in these pages with dialogue,” which makes me wonder how much is she telling the truth. Although the plot is good, it is not very fast paced and at times I felt that pieces were missing, perhaps scenes were cut in editing? I don’t know, I just kept feeling like I was missing pieces of the story. But as I stated before, the overall feel of the book is good, and a nice updated version of the Holmes and Moriarty story. This is the first in a trilogy according to the author’s website.