The Initiation (Lock and Key)

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The Initiation (Lock and Key)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 20, 2016
ISBN
978-0062399014
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The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the riveting first tale of the Lock and Key trilogy about the origins of the rivalry between literature’s most famous enemies—Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, told from the perspective of James’s observant little sister, Moria. Before James grew up to be a ruthless, remorseless villain, he was a curious boy from Boston, with a penchant for trouble and an acid tongue. Thrown into a boarding school against his wishes, James winds up rooming with a most unlikely companion: a lanky British know-it-all named Sherlock Holmes (“Lock” to his friends). An heirloom Bible, donated by the Moriarty family more than a hundred years ago, has gone missing, and it doesn’t take long for the two to find themselves embroiled in the school-wide scandal. The school is on lockdown until it’s found, strange clues keep finding their way to James, and a secret society lurks behind it all. It’s a brave new reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision. As Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, says, “This tale will change the way you see Sherlock Holmes and leave you dying to know more.”

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Young Sherlock AND Young Moriarty
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Moria and James Moriarty live in Boston, in a mansion on Beacon Hill. Their mother is gone, and their father is an elusive character, so when James is attacked in his bedroom, the siblings don't quite trust that the event is an "initiation" for Baskerville Academy. Since their father claims to have to travel, he enrolls Moria in the school as well, so she is at hand to observe everything her brother does and to report on it. James' roommate is none other than Sherlock Holmes, a rather bombastic character who makes a big show of telling James everything about himself. When the school has the Moriarty family Bible stolen, the administration is quite upset, since the family founded the school. James and Sherlock, with Moria's help, set out to investigate, and find themselves being involved in a bigger mystery than they could have imagined. Tensions run high, and the roommates often don't get involved. Moria has some information that James doesn't have, so when their father is killed when he falls off a step ladder, she is suspicious and alerts James and Sherlock that they should be very careful when investigating.
Good Points
Like Andrew Lane's Death Cloud, this portrays a young man who already has his investigative technique down, but doesn't have that many cases under his belt. Unlike the Lane series, Sherlock is a rather unpleasant character. Moriarty is the focus here, and his sister's observations help us to understand why he is motivated to later become a career criminal.

Boarding school stories are always popular, and Baskerville Academy is rather fun. It is a bit odd that it is set in the US, but this story does not take place in the 1800s-- it has been firmly resettled into modern times, although it took me a while to realize that! While there is some discussion of Sherlock's family, there's no indication that the characters are descendants of Arthur Conan Doyle's characters. They are the characters from those stories, but brought into the modern day. This is a bold and interesting move on Pearson's part, and adds a much needed twist to characters that have been written about quite a bit.

While it is sometimes confusing to have the story narrated by Moria, this also gives a dash of novelty, and also gives us some distance from James, who does turn out to be a horrible unlikable character in the Holmes canon.

Readers who have read Doyle and the plethora of Holmes stories will need to pick this up, but it is also a good way to introduce new readers to a venerable character and his amazing powers of deduction.
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