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The dragon turn by Shane Peacock
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The dragon turn (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Shane Peacock

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6528183,505 (3.75)11
callmecayce's review
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Possible mild spoilers below.

For some reason it took me a long time to get into this book, but once I did, it ended up being one of the better ones from this series. I liked Sherlock's interactions with Beatrice and Irene. I especially liked the little boy, Scuttle. And his relationship with Bell is fantastic. I'm not really impressed with the sexism that Peacock subtly adds to the story -- I know it's probably time period appropriate, but it's unnecessary. I know Sherlock doesn't know how to deal with his affection for both girls, but at the same time, he doesn't need to blame Irene for his own inability to see straight, on occasion. It's not HER fault he wants to impress her. I do like that he understands the class dynamics, even though Irene chooses not to. And I found it interesting that Sherlock can be himself around Beatrice and must work harder around Irene. I do hope there's another book in this series, if not more, as I'm enjoying watching Sherlock grow up. And I'd like to know the fate of his father. ( )
  callmecayce | Apr 26, 2012 |
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Showing 1-25 of 28 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Back for his fifth mystery, Young Sherlock Holmes has his work cut out for him. When a magician called Hemsworth is arrested for the murder of another magician and the disappearance of Mrs. Nottingham, Hemsworth’s ex and the murdered magician’s current wife , Sherlock decides to investigate. The police aren’t too thrilled with him poking his nose where it doesn’t belong. With little to no evidence to support the police’s murder theory and a near impossible laboratory that holds all the information, Sherlock may be over his head. Will he succeed?

The characters are likable and Sherlock seems pretty true to the original Doyle character. References to the original Holmes author and some of his mysteries are entertaining and engaging. The plot is well-developed and has lots of twist and turns that will keep the reader guessing the true ending to the mystery. Readers who like adventure, historical fiction, and mystery will enjoy reading this book. ( )
  kiramoody | Mar 5, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My biggest impression is that this is definitely a stereotypical children's book in every sense of the word. I say this because I have read many of the same kind which have astounded me with its uniqueness and ability to go beyond. However, I feel like this book fell short of that and remains on very safe grounds.

Although the 5th book of a series, this book can be read as a stand-alone. The author makes sure you are kept up to date, more or less, with the facts from previous happenstances. In this book, Sherlock and Irene are trying to determine the innocence of Alistair Hemsworth, a magician. His things were found neatly plopped next to a few bits of flesh and someone's spectacles. Somehow, this was enough to convict him but Sherlock believes there is more to this story.

I see this a lot in boy detective stories and this one is no better: the adults (though mainly the police) are dumbed down in order to make Sherlock seem smarter. They use circumstantial evidence to arrest a man but cries foul when Sherlock uses circumstantial evidence of his own (although less obvious ones). I also feel that if you changed the character names to something more mundane, there would have been no difference to the story. In other words, I can hardly believe that this boy is a young Sherlock Holmes. Aside from two paragraphs about a fear of boredom, I see nothing of the "master detective". There was no snarky comeback at the police's idiocy, no obsession over puzzles, no strange need to describe every detail of how he came to his conclusion, not even a smidget of the power of deduction, and no indication that he is any smarter than an average kid, despite every other character telling me so. I understand that some leeway should be given since this is supposed to be about his childhood and how he was shaped but not every single personality trait of the infamous man would realistically appear from some traumatic event. The case itself is hardly a mystery as well. I guess I would spoil it if I reveal it but there is no intellect involved. Someone found something and that was that. The twist wasn't even surprising.

Now don't get me wrong. This was a decent book, although it stays comfortably within the boundaries of its genre. The case was interesting and I like Irene Doyle. I felt like she, at least, was a strong and distinctive character. Scuttles was also pretty endearing although it got a bit annoying near the end.

Still, the book was nothing to rave about. Although it used Sherlock Holme's big name, the book didn't actually do anything with it. I would recommend this book to children just getting into detective stories. However, any hardcore Sherlock fan would be disappointed. I would like to note that there is one more book called "Becoming Sherlock", where things apparently get a lot grimmer. If I ever get around to reading it, I will have to see if it'll make me eat my words and prove that this boy really is Sherlock.

Received in a giveaway in return for an honest review ( )
  Tavaresden | May 27, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I don't think this book was really meant to be read on it's own. That's not a criticism! I think that if I had read the previous four books I would have developed a relationship with the protagonist, but since this was the fifth book in the series I found it a little hard to relate to Peacock's Sherlock Holmes. There was a lot of information threads in there, but they weren't complete enough for me to catch up to the story (not a criticism! I get that it would be tough to recap four books in a short amount of time, and given that this is meant for young adults, it would have to be brief!).
For someone who is not familiar with the original Sherlock Holmes or with mystery/detective stories in general, and who has read the series from the beginning, I think that they would really enjoy The Boy Sherlock Holmes. It is a great taking off point into the genre. If I ever got the chance, I would, after the series is complete, spend a nice weekend reading the lot, and if I had a niece or nephew showing interest in the genre I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this collection.
And of course...I absolutely adored Scuttle! ( )
  kpolhuis | Apr 21, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The fifth book in the series, Peacock continues to provide a back story to Conan-Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Now nearing adulthood, Sherlock is discovering that he still needs friends and mentors as he develops his skills as a detective. His relationships with his friends Irene, Beatrice, and Lestrade Junior, and his mentor Bell are maturing. The portrayal of Victorian England, including societal attitudes and emerging technology, is quite accurate.

Several mysteries intertwine within the story, and the plot offers intrigue and interest in equal measure. The youthful Holmes' character has not quite yet achieved the stand-offishness and arrogance of Conan Doyle's adult, but we have glimpses of how the adult came to be the way he is.

Ostensibly a children's book, this novel is a good read for any age. ( )
  Ceolach | Apr 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Even though this book is the fifth in the series, it is still very readable on its own. It is a fun and engaging mystery with some very well-drawn characters. There are some strong female characters to balance out the equally strong male characters. Plotting and dialogue are all well-done. That said, the character of Sherlock can be a little OOC (out of character) in places. In the proper Conan Doyle books, Sherlock can be a little removed from humanity and his detachment is particularly pronounced with women. Part of this was due to the times in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was writing, but also due to the eccentricities of the character himself. The Sherlock Holmes in this book is much more modern, which helps for younger readers, but they should also know that the "adult" Sherlock is a little less fuzzy.
  marnocat | Mar 31, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Secretive magicians, people-eating dragons, and an unsolved murder all face young Sherlock Holmes in the 5th book of "The Boy Sherlock Holmes" series by Shane Peacock. This was the first book I have read in the series and I would say this book could be read as a stand alone story or as a series although some back story of characters is missed if it is read by itself. The story of Sherlock's family and his connection with the two girls he likes, Irene and Beatrice, is explained in the previous books and I missed having those stories while reading. I thought it was an exciting mystery with many twists and an unexpected ending. Sherlock is trying to step back from detective work, but Irene Doyle, a girl he likes, convinces him to help clear the name of a magician suspected of murder. Sherlock investigates and feeds his discoveries to the son of Detective Lestrade, but Sherlock soon has doubts about his own investigating and must solve the case to redeem himself with the police detectives. More advanced readers (grade 6 and up) who enjoy historical fiction type stories and mysteries would love this series. ( )
  purplethings | Mar 28, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed this tale about the young Sherlock Holmes. I thought the "love" triangle between Holmes, Doyle, & Leckie was realistic and I loved the character Scuttle. I also enjoyed the twist-that the two magicians are working together to kill the woman who scorned them both. I had issues with a few plot items: Malefator sort of randomly appears and does no real damage and the scene where Irene tells Sherlock she is leaving seemed rushed.However, overall it was a pleasant read. ( )
  kimpiddington | Mar 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed the previous book in this series, THE SECRET FIEND, but this, the fifth in the "Boy Sherlock Holmes" series, seemed long to me. It simply lacked the tension that kept me turning pages in THE SECRET FIEND, and I found myself setting it aside to read other books. In this installment, one magician (Hemsworth) is suspected of murdering another (Nottingham), who happened to have stolen his wife away. Only bits of Nottingham are found, and no one knows how Hemsworth did it. Against his resolve to stay out of detective matters until adulthood, Holmes agrees to look into the case at the prodding of Irene Doyle, who has been offered a chance to sing in Hemsworth's show.

The solution was telegraphed from the beginning, which accounts for some of the slack in the tension. Wondering what on earth happened is always more engaging than waiting to find I was right. This book was also heavy on the love-triangle angle, which isn't particularly interesting to me. Angsty teenaged Holmes infatuated with two very different young ladies just doesn't hold my interest.

Even if it isn't Peacock's best, young Holmes is still very readable, and I'll be reading the conclusion to the series, BECOMING HOLMES, next.

Source disclosure: I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  noranydrop2read | Mar 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reviewed from a copy received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. The Dragon Turn is the 5th in a 6 part imagining of Sherlock Holmes' youth, his history and how he became the greatest consulting detective the world has ever known. In this installment, 16 year old Holmes investigates a case of murder that is baffling the police (naturally!). Stage magician Hemsworth has a mediocre talent as a performer, but a killer finish to his show as he brings out what appears to be a real dragon. He is accused of the murder of a rival magician, although only scraps have been found - no actual body. Irene Doyle (Holmes' girlfriend) begs him to prove Hemsworth innocent because Hemsworth has promised to give her a chance to sing onstage as part of his show. Holmes does so, but then has second thoughts.

I am fairly confident that nothing Peacock has done in these books contradicts anything in Holmsian canon, but I confess that, enjoyable as the story was in itself, it didn't tell me anything I wanted to know about what formed Holmes' character. Still as a YA adventure, I recommend it.
  tardis | Mar 22, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
i loved this book. it was fun to try and figure out the answer to the case. the end of the book was really sad but it was still really good.
  sophiehrhlgnd | Mar 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The young Sherlock Holmes, just 15, is on the case again, albeit reluctantly, at first. This mystery is one of deception, alleged murder, dragons, and fantastical wizard magicians. When a highly regarded magician, known as Nottingham, is thought to have been murdered, Hemsworth, a lesser known one is accused. You see, there is a history of between them...involving Angelica Nottingham, the wizard's wife. She has left one for the other...or so it seems.

Set against a backdrop of a magnificent magic show involving a blood-thirsty dragon appearing out of nowhere, Holmes has to discover how all of these seemingly disconnected pieces come together to commit murder. Little does Holmes know, though at first, that some things are not always as they seem (isn't this what makes a good mystery?) and he has to sort through facts again, both relevant and inconsequential. Young Holmes has a detective's sharp mind and filters through the clues, and comes to a very surprising and nearly deadly conclusion, much to the chagrin of his fellow detectives, Lestrade Jr. and Sr.

Just as Holmes is a master detective in the making, Peacock is a master with language and a mysterious plot. Having readers reeling with anticipation and on the edge of their seats, Peacock has us devouring every word to the satisfying and unbelievable ending. This series of mysteries are both well-written and enticing!

I give The Dragon Turn: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 5th Case 4 1/2 stars.

Thanks to Shane Peacock, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and Tundra Books for this latest installment in the The Boy Sherlock Holmes series. ( )
  jackiewark | Mar 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Shane Peacock has done an excellent job writing a story of mostly believable ideas from his intensive research of the period and place of the original Sherlock Holmes character. One anachronism is his mention of "chaos theory" as a mathematic field of study. While various scientists of the time period were studying concepts that would lead to "chaos theory," the field was not given that name until the early twentieth century.

Probably what Peacock's real strength is, at least in this book, is character development. While I have not read the previous books, the descriptions of the key characters here sound well-tested, and one new character is very interesting--Scuttle, a homeless boy who not only assists Holmes in his detective work, but also nearly becomes a meal for the "dragon."

I wondered, as I read, how Peacock would keep the existence of a komodo dragon secret, since a live dragon was not revealed to the West until the 1920s, and I also wondered how Peacock could find a way to convict the would-be murderers, if the dragon was not revealed as real. How Peacock manages both of these problems is a testament to his writing finesse.

I'm eager to read more books of this series. ( )
  hefruth | Mar 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the 5th book in this excellent series, young Sherlock Homes is now 15 and "stepping out" (dating, in the 19th century way) with Irene Doyle--they go to the theater together, etc. When the famous magician Hemsworth is arrested and charged with murdering his rival, Nottingham, Irene implores Sherlock to investigate and clear his name, because Hemsworth had promised to give Irene a job singing with his act. Hemsworth certainly had the motivation to kill Nottingham, because he stole Hemsworth's wife away from him. But Sherlock's not so sure--how did the magician manage to kill Nottingham in such a way that nothing is left of him but a few grisly chunks of flesh and a lot of blood? It almost looks like Nottingham was eaten by a beast--but surely the "fire-breathing dragon" of Hemsworth's famous stage act is just a marvelous magician's trick? It can't possibly exist in real life...or can it? I loved this installment of the series because Sherlock is maturing, and getting to have more of a personal life with Irene (although, what's this? There is also the lovely Beatrice, the hatter's daughter, to vie for his affections! What's a socially awkward future detective to do?). And the glimpses behind the scenes of 19th century theatrical life are fascinating. And, there's a terrifically exciting fight and chase scene that I don't want to spoil for anyone! And, as usual, Sherlock's eccentric mentor Bell puts in some funny appearances. Another wonderful look at gritty Victorian London and a ripsnorting mystery. ( )
  GoldieBug | Mar 7, 2013 |
In The Dragon Turn, 16-year-old Sherlock Holmes has gone to see London's latest craze - a magician who can produce a dragon out of thin air. When the magician is accused of the murder of a rival, Sherlock finds himself caught up in the mystery and at odds with Inspectors Lestrade, both pere and fils. Worse, because of his evidence, the magician is freed but Sherlock begins to suspect that, maybe, just maybe, he might have been wrong and had helped to free a murderer.

I have been a huge fan of the original Holmes story since I was a kid although I have never been so hardcore that I obsess about the minutiae of the tales. However,I have to say I found some of the background author Shane Peacock gave the teenaged Sherlock somewhat disconcerting. I also found myself stumbling over the story as it was told in present tense. I am not sure why except perhaps it just didn't seem to mesh with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing.

I also found the story slow at times, especially at the beginning, but once I got further into the mystery, it kept my interest right up to the end. The end, itself, if not particularly surprising, was satisfying. I should also mention that, before I started the book, I hadn't realized it was fifth in a series. However, it worked fine as a stand-alone.

Although I doubt that this story will appeal to die-hard fans of the great detective, I suspect that the YA audience it is aimed at will find it more than a little bit fun. There's plenty of adventure, magic, and romance to keep them entertained. And, if it makes them want to read the originals, well, then all I can say is 'the game's afoot'. ( )
  lostinalibrary | Feb 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a decent enough story of the young Sherlock Holmes, though admittedly it took some time to get into. I wonder if perhaps that's the narrator's fault -- we're not used to a Holmes story from Holmes' point of view. It was a bit off-putting, to say the least, though I'm glad to have thought it through as it does help to represent the sort of detached character of Holmes himself. That said, I appreciate the various pastiches authors have created over the years, and I think this book is a good companion to the originals... and perhaps a way for parents to ease their children into the original stories. The story itself was well-paced and made sense, with that wonderful air of the supernatural that ends up having a purely logical explanation, just like many of the original stories. Enjoyable, and I do hope to read more from this author. ( )
  dk_phoenix | Feb 6, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Possible mild spoilers below.

For some reason it took me a long time to get into this book, but once I did, it ended up being one of the better ones from this series. I liked Sherlock's interactions with Beatrice and Irene. I especially liked the little boy, Scuttle. And his relationship with Bell is fantastic. I'm not really impressed with the sexism that Peacock subtly adds to the story -- I know it's probably time period appropriate, but it's unnecessary. I know Sherlock doesn't know how to deal with his affection for both girls, but at the same time, he doesn't need to blame Irene for his own inability to see straight, on occasion. It's not HER fault he wants to impress her. I do like that he understands the class dynamics, even though Irene chooses not to. And I found it interesting that Sherlock can be himself around Beatrice and must work harder around Irene. I do hope there's another book in this series, if not more, as I'm enjoying watching Sherlock grow up. And I'd like to know the fate of his father. ( )
  callmecayce | Apr 26, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was my first boy Sherlock Holmes book, as I'll say as a fan of the originals, I was a bit dubious going in. I was pleasantly surprised. I very much enjoyed this book. While some YA readers might want to go straight to the originals, others, and especially younger tweens might want to begin with these. The mystery was interesting, the pacing brisk and the cast of characters colorful and intriguing. The book itself is a lovely thing, the dust cover contains a map of London on the back and the peekaboo cover with the dragon face is sure to entice readers.
1 vote JulieBenolken | Jan 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Having read all of Peacock's previous Boy Sherlock Holmes books, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this installment. The impressive degree of realism and familiarity with the time period and setting were still there, but the story was not very engaging. In The Dragon Turn, a magician disappears under circumstances that seem to implicate one of his rivals, and Sherlock links the bloody crime scene to the latter magician's surprisingly realistic dragon that he uses on stage. Of course, the story turns out to be more complicated than it seems at first, but the lack of tension in the storytelling and the failure to really build on any of the characters make this outing a little flat compared to the earlier books, which were pretty outstanding. Not a bad book by any means, just not up to the standard I've come to expect from this series.
  Bitter_Grace | Jan 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Have read the previous four books in the young Sherlock Holmes series, but did not enjoy this one nearly as much as the others. The others had a more interesting plot, and I feel that if someone read this book first, they would not continue the series. Having said that, I did enjoy how addled Sherlock seemed to get when in the presence of Irene or Beatrice because it rang true with what I know of adolescent boys.
  JRlibrary | Dec 14, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Dragon Turn, by Shane Peacock is the fifth in a series. This is the first one of the series that I read, and at first I couldn't really get into it. The writing was oddly detached, which probably emulated the concept of Sherlock's sense of detachment in most of his personal storytelling, but the saving grace of Doyle's writing is that Dr. Watson was the storyteller. With Peacock, the narrator was Sherlock, and this brought a different level to it. on one hand, it was nice because it did seem like Sherlock was actually telling the story - and it was true to the personification. But on the other hand, it was harder to get into the storyline because everything seemed so distant from the reader. I think that it would be really interesting if Dr. Watson as a kid entered the series and see the results of that - it would certainly add something interesting in the mix, and Sherlock would not have to worry during a large portion of the book about bringing females into danger. It was true to the era, but at the same time it was rather insulting - I felt like Irene is a much more vivacious and intelligent character than what she was in this book. Overall, it was interesting, but not one for a dedicated Sherlockian. It may work as interesting children into Sherlock Holmes, but it would not be my first choice. ( )
  bethieng | Dec 13, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My 12-year-old daughter and I are both huge fans of Shane Peacocks’ award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series, which started with The Eye of the Crow. Each book has been suspenseful and true to the world created by Arthur Conan Doyle. A big strength of the series has been the development of the young Sherlock Holmes, with entirely plausible explanations of how and why the character had evolved into the familiar detective we know from Doyle’s classic novels.

Perhaps it is because the first four novels had been so strong that I find The Dragon Turn somewhat of a disappointment. Of course, this means that the latest in the series is merely a good story rather than an exceptional one. The Dragon Turn is about two rival magicians and the disappearance of the woman that had been married to both of them in turn. As before, Irene Doyle and the Lestrades, father and son, play significant roles in the story. The plot is, as usual, exciting and fast-paced, but I missed the exploration of Sherlock’s character and history that was more prominent in the earlier books.

This is not Shane Peacock’s best, but still, the series is well worth reading, for both those well acquainted with the Sherlock Holmes character and those meeting him for the first time. ( )
  mathgirl40 | Dec 11, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a copy of this book through the Early Reviewer program. The publisher once again did a lovely job with the cover (both sides) of this hardcover.

I've read all but one of these Boy Sherlock books and enjoyed them, for the most part. I don't always recommend them to my students, though, because my students tend to want a bit more action and verve. This volume is no exception to that. The writing was not as lively as it could have been and there was very little mystery. The 'mystery' seemed obvious to me from the start. Still, it gave me a bit of a Sherlock fix, and pushed the overall arc of the series forward.
1 vote scribble_weeble | Dec 3, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well, I've finally made it through this book, and I think I have fallen out of love with the young Sherlock Holmes. I have read three others in the series, and this one seems to be lacking. The plotting seems forced, the solution to the mystery is apparent early on, and I just don't like a Sherlock afflicted with teenage angst. There are just too many exclamation points! There are also, unfortunately, some errors in spelling and punctuation that should have been corrected. ( )
1 vote paeonia | Dec 1, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received it as an ER book. Although this was my first encounter with this series, I found little difficulty in jumping into the fifth book of the series, despite there being quite a few references throughout to his earlier cases.

The action was interesting and kept me reading, but I confess to having some difficulty with the use of present case often mixed with third case when the POV shifted from Holmes to other characters he was encountering.

I also thought the main reveals were pretty self-evident early on, but perhaps that's a good thing for young readers.

In addition, I thought Sherlock just a tad too reflective when facing danger. I wanted him to stop thinking, already and get on with what needed to be done! I realize he was trying to school himself into being more cerebral, but still!

Overall, an interesting take on the Holmes canon, and a fun, easy read. ( )
  majkia | Nov 30, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am unfamiliar with the rest of this series but had no difficulties with jumping into its latest installment. The action is fast-paced and the mystery intriguing, though I had parts of it figured out long before the final denouement. I enjoyed connecting Peacock's characters and details with those of Arthur Conan Doyle's life and writings. Overall, though, I didn't much like the novel. The plotline seemed to be missing some essential piece for coherence, with the detective process and final climax coming off as rushed. The punctuation errors and overuse of ellipses in my finished copy did little to impress me, either. The Dragon Turn is a nice read for a slightly younger audience, perhaps, but it does little for older readers used to better writing and more complex development. ( )
1 vote SusieBookworm | Nov 27, 2011 |
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