A Study in Shifters by Manjanka Verstraete– Review

36684173 Summary: Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart.

After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?

Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.

It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

Review: 2 stars

I picked this book up for two major reasons, number one being shifters, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a good shifter book, number two being Sherlock Holmes. Every mystery lover must admire Sherlock Holmes. Jackaby was a novel that I felt like combined Sherlock Holmes and the fantasy world, so I hoped that this might be like that. But unfortunately this book was not like that at all.

The title A Study in Shifters makes you think the book would be about shifters, but none of the characters actually shifted into their animal forms until the last ten percent of the book. It was basically a high school murder mystery book with some shifter politics thrown in. Which is fine, but not exactly what I was expecting.

The one thing that really bothered me about this book was the way Marisol’s thoughts and internal monologue were done. When Marisol was trying to piece together parts of the mystery or having any internal thought she would refer to it as “going into Sherlock mode” or going into her “mind palace” and searching through the imaginary cabinets in it for memories or answers. When she referred to her jaguar side she referred to it like it was a separate part of herself. It was like reading about someone with multiple personality disorder who was aware of the other personalities. It really disrupted the flow of the story and I just couldn’t get used to it.

…..”At this, my jaguar let alone an enormous roar that echoed off the walls of my mind palace. She jumped up and clawed at the air, showing her teeth, and I knew that if I could still shift, my jaguar would have no trouble clawing her eyes out.”

Yes, this is a real quote. Where she is referring to the jaguar in her mind, not a real jaguar. Instead of saying, the jaguar part of me wanted to shift and tear her face off, you got a picture of how the jaguar who lived in her “mind palace” responded to things.

“As I ran through those hallways, I reached deep within myself, to the dark hallways of my mind palace, and I began running too, toward that room that had served for so long as a prison for a part of me I couldn’t live with anymore. The door was half-destroyed already, my jaguar having done most of the work for me. She stared at me through the ruined door.”

One of the things I did really like was the Indiana Jones style of puzzles for the mystery. There was a cipher and some interesting riddles that Marisol had to solve in order to figure out the mystery. It had some National Treasure vibes that were fun to read about.

The pacing and plot were kind of slow, but it’s really the writing that killed it for me. I just couldn’t get into it. This isn’t really a book I would ever recommend, which is sad. I really wanted to like this one, it had so much potential, but it just didn’t come anywhere near fulfilling it.


I received a copy from Netgalley and also participated in the Blog Tour for this book. A Study in Shifters by Manjanka Verstraete–Blog Tour with Giveaway

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