Friday, June 12, 2015

The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

Alright, so I picked up this book at the book store in Ohio. I mostly got it because it was 6 dollars! I thought the title, "Language of Bees" was interesting, and the mention of Sherlock Holmes alternative universe seemed interesting too.

I'm normally not a Sherlock Holmes sort of person. I read a few of his books when I was studying abroad in London in college. I took a class on Victorian and Edwardian London, and it was a bonafide, legit, humanities course. I loved reading English literature and then actually going out and seeing the places where the books took place. Dickens was more notorious than Sherlock in setting the scene in London (and specific places at that), but it was still cool to see some of places Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and depicted his first Sherlock novel.

Anyway, I never got on the whole Sherlock Holmes TV series bandwagon. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is incredibly overhyped and the BBC show with Moffat is just... I don't know. I didn't find it amusing or interesting. I watched the first season and when I found out how they treated Irene Adler... well, I was done that show. Elementary seems a bit better, with a female cast as Watson and a more weekly villain vibe. I haven't seen much of Elementary to come to a well rounded conclusion.

ANYWAY, back to The Language of Bees. Not only am I not a huge, "Sherlock Holmes" variation head, I normally don't read straight mysteries. If they are mysteries, they are cross genre with science fiction or fantasy. But, it was 6 dollars, and I was Ohio, so why not?

It was not what I was expecting. It is told in first person perspective of Mary Russell, who is Sherlock Holmes' wife. They arrive home from India to find Sherlock Holmes' son, Damian Adler, in their house in Sussex. Damian states that his wife has gone missing, but due to their bohemian lifestyle, it wasn't such a big deal except for the fact that this time, Yolanda, his wife, also took his daughter with her. Though his relationship with his father is strained, he needs Holmes' help because going to the Scotland Yard with his priors would get him arrested for Yolanda's presumed death.

Sherlock runs off with Damian to find Yolanda and their daughter, Estelle. Mary is left at home in the beginning of the book and goes to investigate an empty bee hive. Apparently Sherlock Holmes is a beekeeper and there is a mystery with why his hive died. Mary Russell solves the mystery, and then goes to meet Holmes in London to figure out the rest of the case.

Ok... Mary Russell is 24 years old in the book. Not a big deal. Sherlock Holmes is in his 60s. Ok... still not a big deal, but kind of odd. Mary reveals how she came to Holmes when she was in her teens, around 15, helping him out on cases. She's an orphan and as she got older, became more of an apprentice... then suddenly became his wife?

When I did some research on Laurie R. King, I discovered that it's a series of books. I thought it was strange there was NO romance between the pair. On one website, Holmes and Russell brokered a marriage in one of the books. Gee, that doesn't sound romantic at all. They also refer to each other as 'Holmes' and 'Russell.' So, she kept her last name (respect) but they still call each other by their last names? BAE calls me by my last name to be funny, but never consistently.

I did more research on their relationship, and I need to read the beginning books to get some of the romance between the pair. The website also argued Holmes homosexuality... but ok. It was very strange. I'm not sure if King thought any sort of romance between the two would take away from Russell or the book, or the focus was on the mystery instead of the relationship between Holmes and Russell.

My original thought (I usually type of a googledoc with initial thoughts, ideas and introduction of the book immediately when I finish it) was that I was more than likely not going to revisit her books. However, The Hive convinced me to give The Beekeeper's Apprentice and A Monstrous Regiment of Women. I want to read about Holmes and Russell sexy times.

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