Things I liked: meeting Leander, the Mission Impossible-like mystery and accompanying reveals and re-reveals about characters and events, Jamie’s dad, and meeting Charlotte’s dad.
Things I didn’t like: Charlotte and her mother, Charlotte with her family, the hints about Charlotte and her future, and the separate investigations going on at the same time by characters who each want to solve things first (this of course does not end well).
Charlotte gets more withdrawn and less relatable than before, which is kind of a shame because watching her and Jamie try and figure each other out was part of the fun of the first book. Although I saw this coming, Charlotte getting more self-centered made me not enjoy watching her and Jamie really starting to deal with the romantic tension between them. The chapter in Charlotte’s voice that follows their resolution-for-now was too little too late for her to be in any way sympathetic. Because Jamie’s much more likeable and less self-centered than Charlotte, it’s not great watching him try to work with her and understand her when there seems to be little effort on her part to do the same with him. Granted Charlotte’s not very likable family is a part of this, but still with an uncle like Leander she should be able to at least a little let Jamie know what’s going on with her.
While I like Jamie as a character, I spent a good bit of this book mentally yelling at him about his being stupid about Charlotte. It’s almost like a horror movie and you know that there’s nothing good behind that door, and the character is slowly going towards it and it seems like it should be obvious to them that they should not open the door, and inevitably they do and something bad is indeed there. Honestly, it’s almost like an emotionally abusive one-sided relationship where Charlotte is the abuser and Jamie can’t see what’s happening to him because of it, and he only wants to figure out how to make her happy and be with her.
The plot is even more spy-movie-esque than the first, and so are the answers to the mysteries that are discovered, or partially revealed. I’m still not sure what villain-supreme Lucien’s motives are besides ‘Moriartys must destroy Holmses’, and with all the seemingly decent characters, like August and Leander, wanting to get out of the family business (and I don’t blame them), I’m wondering what’s left for the final book of the trilogy? Charlotte’s parents are clearly up to something, and it involves Charlotte, but how much of this Charlotte knows or cares to is debatable, and I have a hard time believing how easily Milo gets tricked near the end.