Release Date ~ September 17, 2013
Review copy received from Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books Canada
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.
As much as I love the idea of steampunk, I surprisingly haven't really read a lot of books with a steampunk feel. The Clockwork Scarab sounded like it was going to be so much fun, especially because it features a duo of female protagonists basically out to save the world!
And although there were a few plot twists that had me worried at first for how they'd turn out, The Clockwork Scarab delivered and ended up being an enjoyable, clever read for me!
- The dynamic duo:
It's a really neat idea to take Sherlock Holmes' niece (Mina) and pair her with Brams Stoker's younger sister (Evaline); you end up with two very different young women, who don't always see eye-to-eye but figure out ways to compliment each other. I appreciated that the main relationship of the book was about two female characters, as well. They're both spirited, gutsy girls which makes them interesting characters from the start.
- Plot-driven story:
More than anything else, the plot takes the stage in The Clockwork Scarab. The story moves along nicely, and there aren't any lulls but instead it continues at a steady pace. The mystery isn't overly simplistic, and while we do receive a few answers by the end of the book it's clear that the central mystery will continue throughout the series.
As much as I liked Mina and Evaline as characters, it's important to note that this story is written in dual-perspectives, with alternating chapters between Mina's and Evaline's voices. The idea for writing this from two points-of-view is great, but I found the execution to be lacking. The narration didn't strike me as two different characters, but instead it felt like the same voice. There was no real difference between them.
It also seemed that there were too many different ideas introduced for one little book, but I'm hoping that we'll see more of these sub-plots will be better explained in later books of the series.
I mentioned earlier that The Clockwork Scarab has some steampunk aspects to it, but it's definitely fairly minimal for a steampunk book. The setting is still fascinating and a lot of fun though; Colleen Gleason was able to incorporate some neat details about steampunk gadgets or society.