The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes #1) by Colleen Gleason
Official Synopsis: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.
I loved Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles, it’s definitely one of my favourite historical fantasy series. When I saw that the author was releasing a YA steampunk series, I knew I had to read it. And although, Clockwork Scarab didn’t turn out quite as good as the Gardella Chronicles, it was still an entertaining read.
Clockwork Scarab was essentially a run-of-the-mill murder mystery, but it still managed to be mostly engaging. Not suprisingly, things kicked off with a suspicious murder or two, and no promising leads. Enter, Mina and Evaline, two young girls stuck in the shadows of their famous relatives, and both desperate to prove themselves. When they’re given the opportunity to investigate the suspicious deaths, they jump at the chance to show off their many talents. Naturally, they end up sleuthing, fighting, and mixed up in all sorts of conspiracies.
There were some parts of the plot that dragged and some aspects that seemed a tad over the top, such as the secret Egyptian cults and the cartoonish bad guys.. But it was all still a lot of fun.
I’m not usually a fan of dual POV’s but it worked quite well in this. Mina (Sherlock Holmes’s niece) and Evaline (vampire slayer/Bram Stoker’s sister) were both decent enough protagonists. Although, I preferred Mina over Evaline, she was a little more likeable and interesting, whilst Evaline could at times be dull and a little TSTL.
I was disappointed that Mina and Evaline didn’t get along for the most part, they had a rather antagonistic relationship. I wasn’t impressed that both of them judged the other from the get go, they didn’t even know each other yet they still made all sorts of unfair judgements. I did like that towards the end they had more of a friendship, I’m hoping they’ll have a stronger partnership in the sequels.
I felt that both Evaline and Mina’s characters were kind of cheesy. Mina was smart (kind of), socially awkward, and obsessed with solving things - so she was basically a young, female Sherlock. Whereas Evaline was reckless, idiotic, and full of herself - she was the typical YA ‘kickass’ warrior heroine. I would have preferred if they hadn’t been quite so predictable as characters.
The love interests didn’t leave much of an impression on me. There was too much insta-lust going on for my liking, basically the girls fell for the first guy that took an interest in them. The only love interest that I was impressed with was Grayling, he had a good personality and his chemistry with Mina was rather sweet. Evaline’s fella wasn’t my cup of tea at all, he was the typical-cocky-in-love-with-himself-manslut type hero. I’m hoping she gets a better love interest.
The Dylan/time travel arc didn’t fit in very well with the rest of the story. I didn’t see the point of his character at all, I’m guessing he’ll play an important role in the sequels.
All in all, The Clockwork Scarab was an enjoyable read. Recommended for fans of YA, Steampunk, Egyptian mythology, and Sherlock.
**ARC from Edelweiss