Sent to me by Titan Books in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 27/05/16
Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Paperback, 384pp
Summed up in a word: phantasmagorical
I was seriously excited about reading A Study In Brimstone and The Hell-Hound Of The Baskervilles, so much so that I started reading them as soon as they arrived, and I was not disappointed. This series is so much fun, the concepts are well thought out and the humour is both quality and abundant. G. S. Dennings has taken a classic series and given a complete makeover and I enjoyed the result. A Study In Brimstone is a dark, hilarious, gory and intriguing fantasy parody which had me in tears (with laughter). Check out my full review below and keep an eye out for my review to the sequel The Hell-Hound Of The Baskervilles which will be up tomorrow.
Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius who uses the gift of deduction and reason to solve the most vexing of crimes.
Warlock Holmes, however, is an idiot. A good man, perhaps; a font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart flatmate. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.
An imaginative, irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world’s favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm, tone and feel of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while finally giving the flat at 221b Baker Street what it’s been missing for all these years: an alchemy table.
Reimagining six stories, this riotous mash-up is a glorious new take on the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes myth, featuring the vampire Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, the ogre Inspector Torg Grogsson, and Dr. Watson, the true detective at 221b. And Sherlock. A warlock.
When I saw this series online, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I am on a bit of a Sherlock fix at the moment and this series fitted perfectly into the mix. Warlock Holmes is fundamentally a fantasy re-imagining of the classic series. Warlock is not proficient in the art of deduction, instead he relies on arcane abilities to solve cases. A Study In Brimstone follows the classic story arc, for the most part, Watson returns from war and ends up moving in with Warlock Holmes after an old friend points Watson in his direction.
Each element of the Sherlock lore has been adapted to fit this new series and I was amazed by the results. I love the fact that Denning pulled from a lot of 18th/19th century popular culture. Lestrade is still an inspector but he is also a vampire. Grogsson is an ogre. And the infamous Baker Street Irregulars are were-rats. I thought all this choices were inspired and it made me smile a lot. The best idea, in my opinion, is merging Moriarty with Holmes. Moriarty is locked inside Holmes’ head and he makes regular appearances; usually with a prophecy to share.
Watson is practically the only normal individual in the series. Though Denning has Watson doing most of the work as Warlock is pretty much incapable of figuring out cases without using magic. Watson has to teach Warlock the art of deduction to prevent them being found out or tearing any more holes in the fabric of the universe. The format of the book is one main story line, A Study In Brimstone, and then several smaller cases that show off Warlock’s abilities and Denning’s imagination. I felt that the main plot of ASIB was lost in the mix of the meeting of the two main characters, secondary characters and working out the dynamics of the story.
Once we got to the smaller stories, I was more in tune with what Denning was trying to achieve with this series. I may have to go back and read the main plot again to appreciate it a bit more. The ideas that Denning included were great but for me the stand out feature was definitely Denning’s writing. It didn’t feel like he was just writing over the original plot with absurdities, it really feels like its own series and I had such a laugh with the writing. The focus was definitely on amusement and fascination. I was always wondering what Warlock is truly capable of and each of the cases was as bizarre or as interesting as the next. The addition of illustrations was another win for me, they added a fun extra dimension into the world of Warlock Holmes.
Warlock is a powerful individual with plenty of mighty allies and even mightier enemies. The wide variety of monsters, magic and artifacts was brilliant. As I said before, I think the smaller stories had more kick to them. Hideous monsters, Watson being introduced to all of time and space, a man who can control the threads of the universe and a package of ears being sent to the wrong sister are just some on the antics available if you take the time to read this series.
Overall I have given A Study In Brimstone 4.5/5 stars because it is a must read. You don’t even need to be aware of any previous Sherlock material to be able to enjoy this series; all you need is a sense of humour and an open mind. I have knocked off half a star because I felt the main story could have been more appealing so it wouldn’t have gotten lost in the chaos of the meeting of Warlock and Watson. I recommend this to all readers, it provided me with a much needed laugh and I can’t wait to pick up the sequels.
About G. S. Denning
A native of Seattle, G. S. Denning began working as a professional comedian in 1995. He’s been an entertainer at Disney World, Seattle Theatersports, Orlando Theatersports and Jet City Theater now, tired of watching his creations vanish as soon as he’s done saying them, he’s begun to write it all down. His first book Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone is available now. The sequel, Warlock Holmes: Hell Hound of the Baskervilles is due out now!! with Titan Books May 16, 2017. Bio was found at: scificons.com
Goodreads: G. S. Denning