Holmes is aloof, intelligent, unsympathetic, guarded, strong, but at times very vulnerable. She is always ten steps ahead of everyone, until her emotions cloud her vision. We see her only through Watson, but her character is well formed, if not romanticized. It feels as though they could be part of a Victorian plot, but both characters are also so intrinsically modern. More emotional, in tune with each other, than again at odds with each other. Being teenagers, they are not quite at their peak; or Holmes thinks she is, but she is unfortunately unable to stop others from interfering with her, which causes her to misunderstand herself, to loose herself in drugs. Her and Watson have been a part of each other's lives before they have even met, making their actual interactions to be clouded by assumptions and ideals.
We are also introduced to the Moriarty's, still foe's to the Holmes clan; and still dragging the Watson family in to their rivalry. They are a clever enemy, with powers to persuade others to do their will, therefore keeping their own hands 'somewhat' clean. There is a past between Charlotte and one of the Moriarty's, August, which is a mystery throughout the book.
I loved the banter between Holmes and Watson, their distrust, and their eventual overwhelming reliance on each other. They become two halves of a whole, leaning on each other for stability against their weaknesses. Sometimes hating to be together, but also terrified of being apart. It's a whip smart story, with edge of your seat writing. Characters throughout who are detestable and likable, more human than they may first appear. Holmes harbours a drug addiction and Watson has issues with rage. They are fighting both internal and external demons, together. I am looking forward to their next saga; hoping for another cleverly written case, another look through the lens of an old/new mystery duo.
Also, loved the epilogue, which switched to Holmes point of view. A concise telling of the tale in a mere five pages. Facts, no overindulgence, no emotion (well mostly), and cleverly written. It was an interesting switch, necessary for understanding that Watson's tale does have a lot of his added flourishes and that it is only his point of view (so it is limited). Loved it!