Monday, October 13, 2014

YA Review: The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker and Holmes, 1) by Colleen Gleason, August 16, 2013. 384 pages. Published by Chronicle Books. Source: publisher.
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.
First Sentence:
There are a limited number of excuses for a young, intelligent woman of seventeen to be traversing the fog-shrouded streets of London at midnight.


Even though I have found steampunk books to be a little hit-and-miss in the quality department, I could not resist the temptation of one with female relations of the Stoker and Holmes lines. As someone who has devoured Dracula and all the Sherlock Holmes books (including a good number of retellings) I just couldn't refrain from trying these ones.

To step beyond my initial intrigue about reading a book featuring the female relations to Bram Stoker and Sherlock Holmes, what cemented my affection for The Clockwork Scarab would have to be Mina and Evaline as they were pretty brilliantly done. I for one, know I'm going to love certain characters when they steal my attention from the get-go, which is just what they did. But, what really makes both of these girls stand out is that they no they are different and nothing like what a young woman is expected to be like within the time they live. I thought it was pretty interesting that the author had them acknowledge and even pride themselves on their differences from the other ladies. I just found it so refreshing that they seemed to embrace who they were and take pride in their brains and skills.
    While I really enjoyed their personalities, even when those same personalities made it difficult for them to get along at first, I thought their quirks and annoyances with each other is one of the best parts of their partnership as it left much room for them to grow individually and as a team.

Evaline and Mina are like the new dream team of sleuthing! I could seriously probably spend a few hundred words of this review talking about them and how much I enjoyed reading about them in The Clockwork Scarab but then I would fail to mention some of the other reasons I really enjoyed Colleen Gleason's excellent writing.

As you've noticed, I really enjoyed the characters of this one, but, I believe it is time to move onto the rest of the book.
   I actually really liked the blend of steampunk London and the way it was done in this one. Usually, I find myself not really caring for the whole steampunk element in books, but I found myself really enjoying the way it was employed in this one and how it meshed with not just the story but with the characters themselves. The thing that usually turns me off of steampunk books is that they either don't fully visualize the world and use it properly, or that it's so over the top that you can only roll your eyes at it. Thankfully, that was not the case here. I felt that it was well blended and skillfully used throughout the book, making for a highly interesting read.
  So, if you happen to love books set in 1800s London, England with some steampunk awesomeness, then I cannot recommend this one enough. It is such a fun, thrilling read that perfectly captures those three elements.

I promise, that I am getting down to my final thoughts on the first Stoker and Holmes book. The final thing that sealed my affection for The Clockwork Scarab, well, more like two things, would have to be the writing and the mystery behind the deaths of the young women in the book. The mystery was one of my favorite aspects of the book because it so well done. Also, because I have no idea who was behind the secret society...I would say more on this but spoilers. Just know this, I could not get enough of the mystery and the way it was written. For the first time in forever I was left stumped when it came to who was behind things, and, you know what I am okay with that.
    Finally, it was Colleen Gleason's ability to pull the entire thing together that really makes her book worth reading. I thought she did a great job pulling the various elements of the story together and keeping things flowing. I also found her writing to be quite hilarious, especially, some of the things that happened to Evaline and Mina throughout the book.

Final Verdict: The Clockwork Scarab- Stoker (Evaline) and Holmes (Mina), has two of the smartest and strongest characters ever! Simply loved reading about these two young ladies and watching them solve their first case for the crown.

The Clockwork Scarab earns

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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