Hi everyone! Like I mentioned in my last wrap up, I’m doing a buddy read with Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca and Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts for books 2, 3 and 4 of the Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro. As a way to share the thoughts of all three of us in our blogs, Jenna (inspired by Chaz and Marie), suggested that we should try a “buddy read discussion” post, so that’s what we are doing today! We will be sharing our thoughts on The Last of August, the second book in the series. This ended up being a super interesting discussion since we had very different opinions about the book, as you’ll see.
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.
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Without further ado, here are our thoughts about The Last of August:
Q1. That ending was … wow. Without giving away spoilers, what were your thoughts? Were you expecting that outcome?
Jenna: “Honestly, I liked how I did NOT see it coming. So to answer the second question, no … I did NOT see that coming at all. The last 3 chapters were probably my favouite parts of the novel, since the action started to pick up more.”
Sofia: “Even before starting this book I guessed one of the big things that happened at the end, but I did doubt it a bit throughout the book. So in a sense I was expecting the final outcome, but a lot of the situations and characters surrounding that outcome were surprising to me.”
Rebecca: “I most definitely was not expecting it. Maybe it’s because I don’t read many mystery books or thrillers, but I did not see that coming. While I didn’t see it coming, I do think that the ending made sense with the tone of the story. It just wasn’t exactly what I had pictured.”
Q2. What elements and topics did “The Last of August” execute better than its predecessor, “The Study in Charlotte”? What elements and topics did it not execute as well?
Jenna: “I found the character development and depthness to them was better executed in this novel, in addition to the mystery element. But I found the intensity and action was more well-balanced in the first book.”
Sofia: “I want to start by saying that I think this book was a good book, BUT I can’t think of anything that it executed better than the first book. I’ll talk about the characters in the next question, so for now I’ll focus on the mystery. I think the mystery could have turn out to be more interesting that the mystery in the first book, but it ended up being confusing and frustrating, because for most of the book, the characters are chasing a lead that it’s not actually that important t and even tho looking back I can see that there were hints about that not being as important, it’s still frustrating to feel like a lot of what happened was pointless.”
Rebecca: “I’m going to agree with Sofia and say that I didn’t notice much that was executed better than the first book. I felt pretty middle-of-the-road about both so I didn’t see much difference. As for what wasn’t executed as well, I think that mystery was WAY more confusing than it needed to be. It felt like Brittany Cavallaro took the long way around to unravel this mystery rather than making it a bit more straight-forward.”
Q3. Do you feel like Charlotte and Jamie went through character growth between books one and two? Do you feel like their relationship changed between one book and the other?
Jenna: “I do. I feel as though we get to know a bit more about them. But I also feel like they change themselves, adapting to their new surroundings and from the events that took place in the first book — especially Watson. Their relationship definitely changed … but I still feel like it wasn’t explored enough.”
Sofia: “As someone that absolutely loved Charlotte and Jamie in book one and that enjoyed their relationship inmensly, I was disappointed with The Last of August. I didn’t feel like there was any character development, I felt like Jamie was childish at some points and I didn’t know how to feel regarding some of his thoughts and actions towards Charlotte and the sexual assault theme in this book. Also, I was very frustrated with Charalotte and how she handled the mystery and all the things she kept to herself. In terms of their relationship, that in book one was full of banter, tension and chemistry, in book two it became an endless, frustrating back and forth and for the most part it was not as entertatining”
Rebecca: “I think so but maybe not for the better. If anything, I felt like Charlotte and Jamie both did a backslide in terms of their characters especially Charlotte. She seemed like a shell of her former self in this book compared to who she was in A Study in Charlotte and the same can be said for Jamie who played his sidekick role to a tee. As for their relationship, I think it was extremely unhealthy for both of them and that August only pushed a wedge further into it.”
Q4. Finally, what do you anticipate to occur in its sequel “The Case for Jamie”?
Jenna: “From what I can tell with the title, Watson’s going to have his OWN troubles that will need solving. I also think there’s going to be a lot of Watson and Holmes growing as characters APART before they are the amazing dynamic duo we all know and love. And I think it’s going to get darker, since that seems to be the trend so far.”
Sofia: “I think that Charlotte is gonna pull away from Jamie and try to solve all the problems herself. Now, for what I hope will happen, a lot of character development for Charlotte and Jamie and a mystery that doesn’t rely so much on Charlotte hiding things from Jamie as a way to keep the reader in the dark”
Rebecca: “I’ve already read book 3 and I have to say that it’s my favorite of the series. :)”
Have you read the Charlotte Holmes series? What are your thoughts on it?
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