The Coded Blue Envelope by Anna Elliott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
By now it should be clear that I am a fan of the series; this my review here is primarily on how it sits within the corpus. With that in mind … it is decidedly average and more or less what I have come to expect as Sherlock and the Sons of Ra under Lord Sonneborne (the big bad for this trilogy) maneuver around a plot to throw the empire into disarray so that Egypt might gain their independence. The story begins in Milan Italy with Lucy’s mother Zoe before moving back to London to secure the help of Sherlock and Lucy … and it is a marvelous opportunity to explore more of Zoe’s history and personality (and perhaps learn a bit more about how she hooked up with Sherlock so long ago). Jack, Becky and Flynn, as part of the expended caste, make a few minor contributions just so we can stay in touch while the blue envelope macguffin holds an important clue to the ultimate overarching plot that will remove itself one way or another on the next story … and for some reason, that was not enough of an incentive, this story ends in a surprising cliffhanger (minus 1 star) that makes the beginning of the next book more confusing than it should have been. Still it was fun and I continue to recommend this trilogy and the series over all.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.