Monday, December 1, 2014

The Clockwork Scarab

Author: Colleen Gleason
Info:  Chronicle Books, copyright 2013, 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.

~Goodreads Description

Sometimes there are too many reading choices and it makes me anxious.  Is that weird?  What should I read?  Do I want realistic or fantasy?  Do I want series or stand alone?  Do I want to laugh, cry, go on an adventure?  Sometimes the choice is just too much.  So I let others make my reading choices for me :)

Enter The Clockwork Scarab, pulled off the shelve by the Teen Librarian at my library.  Boy it's nice having staff with good taste in reading.

Mina Holmes has ambitions to follow in her famous Uncle's footsteps.  Incredibly intelligent with an eye for observation, Mina jumps at the chance to service Queen and country in a clandestine mission. Eveline Stoker is basically the Buffy of Victorian, London.  She's supernaturally strong, fast, and lethal...unfortunately there's not a vampire in sight.  Together, they should be an unstoppable force, brains and braun, but sometimes opposites do not attract.

The book has a lot going for it.  First, you've got the fun of Holmes and Stoker, a reinvention of the classics.  Secondly, there's a healthy dose of steampunk, airships, cogs, and awesomeness.  Boy do I love steampunk :) Third, is the exciting inclusion of ancient lore and mythology.  I've always had a fascination with ancient Egypt, and Gleason makes you feel like you're watching a sequel to The Mummy which is just a whole lot of fun.  And finally, there's Pix and Grayling who I hope will prove to be very interesting (and present) in volumes to come.

Now for what it doesn't have going for it, time travel.  Why, oh why, did Gleason need to include time travel?  Sure, there's an "explanation," but it doesn't add anything to the story.  The boy sent through time is one dimensional, and the time period and heroines are interesting enough.  Maybe it will be flushed out a bit more in the sequel.  I suppose we'll see.

There's a lot of unanswered questions after book one, but Gleason sets the story and characters up nicely for more adventures to come.  And it's always nice to have strong, female characters who rely on intelligence to get out of sticky situations.  Just a lot of fun.

It was super close to 4 stars, but I'll hold off until I find out what happens in The Spiritglass Charade.

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