Lock and Mori
by Heather W. Petty
Expected Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
#1 in Lock and Mori
View at the Traffic light:
I am going to be upfront and say that I REALLY liked this book before I get into the nitty-gritty in my review.
However(you knew this was coming, didn’t you?) there’s a reason that the canon Sherlock Holmes stories and pretty much every adaptation, fanfiction, or retelling I know of are all narrated by Watson. Sherlock is an enigmatic figure, as is Moriarty. They’re not what anyone would consider “normal”. They have a different way of looking at the world that can be jarring when you’re up close to that point of view. Watson works well as an audience lead-in because he’s such a good audience surrogate. His empathy and normalcy are more prominent. It’s the difference between looking at the moon through a telescope and standing on the surface in a spacesuit. It’s safer, but you might miss out on some of the wonder, too.
Lock & Mori is not narrated by Watson(in fact, he’s not even a character except for a brief encounter, though I’m assuming more comes of that in the sequel), but by a female Moriarty. Because of this, it can be difficult to get into this book at first. Moriarty, or “Mori” as she prefers, is a tough character to wrap your head around. Much like Sherlock, she’s analytical, sharp, and just different from most of us. It took me awhile to adjust to the point of view when I was reading, but once I did I was hooked.
I first read a Sherlock Holmes story 12 years ago in my seventh grade reading class. I was enamored, and asked my parents to buy me a complete collection of Holmes stories the next time we were in a bookstore. Since then, I’ve been enamored by the strange detective, his companion doctor, and foes of varying worth. I’ve happily watched or read adaptation after adaptation, and I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of the retellings. There’s just something about these stories that continue to speak to us, if the rate of them is any indication, and Lock & Mori is a breath of fresh air as far as Sherlock reinterpretations go.
It’s not just the female Moriarty(though that is wonderful), but also the young setting. Sherlock, Mori, and even Mycroft are quite clearly themselves. It’s easy to see the character archetypes that we’ve come to know so well, but they’re also slightly different. They’re updated for the modern age, for one, but the changes are appropriately reflected in their ages and maturity. Sherlock is sharp and skilled at deduction, but he’s still learning. He can’t spout off fact after fact about the rare ecology of a certain area because he hasn’t gotten around to learning that yet. He’s a teenager, as is Mori, and that comes through perfectly.
Watching Mori and Sherlock play off each other, though, is just as wonderful as seeing it in the canon stories. They’re mutually interested in each other because they recognize and respect each other’s intelligence, but they both occasionally fumble. There is romance, and it does happen pretty quickly, but I wouldn’t call it insta-love. It was passionate and all-encompassing in the way relationships can be, and while I generally don’t like that in books I enjoyed it here because I could see the foreshadowing of where things were leading. I also totally bought the romance and why these two were attracted to each other from the very beginning.
Of course, a Sherlock adaptation isn’t Sherlock without a mystery, and this one kept me turning the pages. Was it a little far-fetched? Yes, but I believed in the character’s intelligence enough to eventually buy into it. It required some suspension of disbelief(as does any book that tends to deal with teenagers solving crimes in the shadows of incompetent detectives), but it didn’t require a ridiculous amount. And when everything finally came to a head, I was left breathless.
So we’ve covered this in terms of adaptation, point of view, and plot, but the best thing about Lock & Mori? Mori’s characterization.
I am so ecstatic about this. Moriarty is the principle antagonist of Sherlock. What we get in Lock & Mori is basically the detailed, in-depth look at a villain’s back story that places them in the place of the main character. Mori makes morally ambiguous or downright bad choices, but she’s not intentionally evil or unfeeling. She cares about Sherlock, her best friend, and her brothers. It’s basically the kind of brooding anti-hero story that male characters get ALL the time and female characters rarely do, and I am so here for it. It’s humanizing in a way that doesn’t downplay Mori’s ambiguous choices and portrays her as cunning, intelligence, caring, but also with the ability to be ruthless. And as interesting as Sherlock is, he pales in comparison to Mori.Her character arc was perfect and I cannot wait to see where it goes in the sequels.
I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Lock & Mori. It did take a bit to get into the story, and there was a lot of groundwork laid for the sequel, but other than that it was everything I wanted in this type of Sherlock retelling. Mori totally stole the show from Sherlock and I loved her character arc so very much. 4/5 cupcakes.