Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker and Holmes #1)

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Author: Colleen Gleason
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Length: 356 pages

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.



Protagonists: Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are called together to solve the disappearance and possible murder of socialite girls. When we first meet Stoker and Holmes they aren't very warm to each other, in fact Mina believes Evaline to be too impulsive and incapable of using deductive reasoning, and Evaline believes Mina to be a snotty know-it-all  who tries to control every situation, and well they're both sort of right. These two have to come together however because only together can they stop the foul evil kidnapping and murdering girls throughout London. Both Mina and Evaline have a fierce bravery and are willing to do anything to solve this case. While they don't get much done while they are at each other's throats, when they work together even they will be surprised what they can accomplish.

Romance: While there isn't too much romance in this book, due to the fact that it mainly focuses on the mystery and the development of our protagonists, there is just enough that I felt compelled to add this section. While Evaline has a fairly straightforward, albeit unassuming, romance, Mina gets the fortune of having an interesting and strange love triangle. First off one of Mina's suitors isn't necessarily from her world, and the other one, well the otehr one can be quite annoying at times, though not in an unsavory way. I really enjoyed that this book had just a touch of romance and that it in no way shape or form detracted from the main plot.

World-Building: So going into this book I thought, okay the sister of Bram Stoker and the niece of Sherlock Holmes working together to solve a mystery? This could be quite entertaining. And it was. However, I was a bit taken aback that there were no vampires in this book, or at least none that weren't in flashbacks. Though that was something that was quite easy to get over as there are still hopefully plenty of books to introduce a vampiric villain. As for the world itself, well it's all quite amazing, a steampunk world, a visitor from another timeline, and a dash of Egyptian mythology. What's not to love about this world.

Predictability: With this being a mystery there was a trail of clues to follow to find out who was behind the crime, or at least that's what I was expecting. In fact while this had many elements of a mystery I was a bit disappointed that the clues weren't things that the reader could pull from both narrator's observations but instead they were handed to the reader by Miss Holmes. Even then her observations may not have been too correct. In all this story was more or less easy to decipher due to classic tropes, but the mystery itself is still a mystery to me.

Ending: As I said above this mystery was missing some key points to it. I was really hoping that this series would be a bit like a television procedural drama where each installment would be an enclosed story while the subplots bleed from installment to installment. However, it looks like there might still be a bit left of this mystery and left me wondering if the next mystery our heroines encounter will have a connection to this clockwork scarab mystery...


I loves this mix of classic characters with classic authors in a fast paces and puzzling mystery. However I was hoping for a bit more out of it which made this book fall a bit flat, that being said however I cannot wait to begin the next installment.


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