Monday, September 23, 2013

[Review: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason]

"The Clockwork Scarab"
Author: Colleen Gleason
Series: Stoker and Holmes #1
Pages: 356
Genre: YA, Alternate-History, Steampunk Mystery
Date Published: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


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.

My Thoughts:

This book combines some of my favorite things.  Egyptian mythology, an alternate version of London and two kick ass heroines who don't mess around.  Gleason has this way with words that pulls you in and she somehow manages to pull off that feeling of an old Sherlock Holmes mystery novel (or a movie version for that matter).  It's fast paced and the use of duel points of view keeps you just enough in the dark that you don't know everything and yet you know more then both our main characters do.  The story keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you interested till the very end.

Evaline and Mina couldn't be more different and Gleason uses that to her advantage.  Evaline is a beauty, taught in all the ways of society.  She's also the family's inherent vampire slayer, even though she doesn't have the disposition for it.  I loved that she's Bram's half sister, it creates an interesting family dynamic.  Mina on the other hand has an extremely famous uncle (he's Sherlock Holmes) and she has trained so that she's almost good enough to give her Uncle a run for his money.  She's got all the guts in the world and absolutely no idea how to act in society.  It's fun to watch these two girls interact.  They clash and they don't know what to do as a team and yet they've been thrown together as one.  Watching them learn how to be a well oiled crime solving machine was really enjoyable.  I kinda loved both of these girls for different reasons.  They're just a well balanced pairing and what's better then unlikely allies? 

The world building was also really interesting and vivid.  I've been reading quite of bit of this whole Alternate-History thing lately and I have to say that Gleason excels in creating a version of Steampunk London that is consistent and breathtaking.  She's really good at creating little details and weaving them into everything.  I felt fully immersed in the world that she wrote her story into.

The mystery itself was quite a lot of action packed fun as well.  Grizzly murders involving young girls of high society and an Egyptian cult.  Sign me up!  Gleason keeps you guessing and guessing and guessing some more.  Seriously, there is a lot of guessing going on.  It was also interesting that she pulled Sherlock's female nemesis Irene Adler in to be the one who contracts the girl's under the order of The Princess Alexandra of England. 

Three fellows grace the pages as well.  That's right, we have three love interests.  Some are more subtle than others, but each of these gents adds something into the mix.  

Pix seems to be a thief, though I can't be so sure.  He keeps bumping into Evaline in dark corners.  They have this wonderful, offbeat kind of chemistry that I enjoy reading.  Though we are kept pretty much in the dark, were he is concerned.

Dylan Eckhart is from the future.  This was one of the things that I didn't love about the novel, though I did really like Dylan and the fact that he kept mentioning things that neither Mina or Evaline knew about and carrying around his iPhone, I found the time travel arc really weird.  He's charming, he's sweet and he's totally stoked that he's meeting all these people who've been dead for about 100 years.  It's just that Gleason didn't really utilize the time travel thing very much.  This being the 1st book, I'm hoping that it plays more of a role in later books.

And last but not least we have my personal favorite: Inspector Ambrose Grayling.  Not only is he a feisty cop who challenges Mina in her deduction skills, he's also got these underlining bad boy traits.  He doesn't call attention to them, but man oh man are they there.

All in all I deduce that this book was a really good one.  No, it wasn't perfect and the whole time travel thing makes me drop the rating down a star, but that being said I think this is a really good book.  It's got a world that sucks you in, two main characters with a lot going on, a decently interesting mystery and a good dose of exciting fun.  I can't wait to see where Gleason takes the story in the next book and I want to know the answers to my unanswered questions, even though I have my guesses!

 4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Shane Morgan said...

Great review! Thanks for the honest thoughts :)

Shelly said...

This one sounds really good! Time travel is one of my favourite subgenres so I'm a little disappointed it didn't work out well in this book. Also, three love interests? I barely handle love triangles I'm not sure how I'd be able to handle 3! Great review! :)

Little Miss Becky said...

I'm really looking forward to this one and I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the weird time travel.

Nicole said...

Yeah, the time travel bit seems to come out of left field but I definitely think I will enjoy this book. Sounds fabulous! Great review! :D