Release Day Review: The Clockwork Scarab

September 17, 2013 book review 14

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Series: Stoker & Holmes #1
Pages: 356

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.

THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB had me hooked from the summary. Bram Stoker’s sister and Sherlock Holmes’ niece must join forces to investigate the murders of girls their age? Hello awesome sounding novel! This book, was fantastic, let me tell you.

From the very first page, you are immediately drawn into the mysterious air of 1889 London. Miss Mina Holmes has received a letter telling her to go to the museum at midnight. Fishy, right? Once there, Mina comes across another young lady who has received the same letter. They have been recruited by the Princess to work together to solve these murders. They are believed to be connected and only the two of them have the skills to figure it out. Told from both Mina and Evaline’s perspective, you’re sure to enjoy this brilliantly smart novel!

Being Sherlock Holmes’ niece, Mina is extremely analytic about the world around her. She can take something as simple as a handwritten letter and deduce what hand it was written with, the class level of the person, whether it’s a male or female, etc. She’s observant, clever, and prides herself on noticing things average people do not. She’s also stubborn, a bit hard headed, and a little egotistical. But I absolutely loved reading her chapters. It was simply amazing at what she noticed about people and the conclusions she could draw. I will admit, especially during the first chapter or so, that she went a little too on and on about her surroundings. While I thought Gleason did a fantastic job with helping me visualize London during this time, I didn’t really need to know what type of wood the furnishings in an office were or what was on the bookshelves. But, as the story dived into the mystery behind the murders and Mina trying to figure out the relevance of the Egyptian scarab, the extreme details were of utmost important. You really can appreciate how brilliant this girl is. I would never notice half the things she did.

Evaline Stoker is actually a vampire hunter. While she hasn’t actually staked one yet, she does have the skills and supernatural strength and agility to take one down if necessary. She’s a fighter and could easily outtake any human being. She also can’t stand Mina. It was so funny listening to her complain and complain about Mina. She truly believed that Mina was a know-it-all and would never see Evaline as her equal. She’s sort of right, at the beginning, to be completely honest. I loved how Evaline, despite being rash and a bit stubborn, wasn’t afraid to get herself into trouble to find out answers. She had a wonderful sense of adventure and was quite clever. She meets a mysterious boy one night and I loved watching her pretend to be too high and mighty to ever fancy him. That facade doesn’t last long! They both pretend to not like the other, but you can tell feelings are blooming. It was cute! Again at the beginning, her chapters were almost as observant and analytical as Mina’s. This made their personalities seem more similar than they were different. Luckily, as the story went on, Evaline’s chapters became more of a mission to prove herself and figure out what happened to a new missing girl than deductive reasoning. I liked how eventually you could see this difference between the two POVs.

THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB has so many interesting and intriguing things going on. You have two kick ass characters whose skills are something you could only wish to have. There is a boy from the year 2016 who has somehow ended up in the museum and is desperate to get back to his time. There is Egyptian mythology, a daunting clue of a scarab found at the murder sites, and a missing Sekhmet statue. All of these things seem completely unrelated but you’ll be surprised just how related they will end up being. This book was nothing like I’ve ever read before and I couldn’t get enough of the story line. I love, love Sherlock Holmes and thought Gleason captured the essence of those books/movies magnificently. The Egyptian mythology plays a huge part of this book and I absolutely loved that. This was such a unique twist to this type of novel and I’m so happy that something like this was done. This book was also very steampunk. I’m not typically a fan of steampunk novels but the way in which this was done happily converted me. The tools and gadgets the girls use and come across all have crazy names–how Gleason could come up with that many names for products, I have no idea!–and were so fun to picture. They were things which I’m pretty sure never did exist but I would love to have them!

As usual, when I absolutely love a book, I tend to ramble on and on about everything that I liked about it. Basically my point is this: if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, read this book! If you love a murder mystery and being kept on your toes, never knowing exactly who the culprit is, read this book! I honestly was left guessing the whole entire book. I’d suspect one character, then I’d backtrack and suspect another. If you love thrillers and action packed plots, read this book! The climax of this novel lasted chapters and I literally could not set the book down until the action stopped. If you are the kind of person who hates cliff hangers and never actually finding out what happened, don’t read this book. The ending, while perfect, had me screaming unladylike things out loud. It just…ended! You’re left feeling like this isn’t over and you don’t even have a definitive answer as to who was doing everything. So frustrating! I NEED THE NEXT BOOK! That is all.

5 Thought Clouds!
I received an ebook ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


14 Responses to “Release Day Review: The Clockwork Scarab”

    • Christine P

      I usually don’t either but it was so interesting you don’t even realize that this is taking place in the 1800s. The only thing that reminds you is how well the girls speak and their mannerisms towards the male species. Very refined!

  1. Cait

    Oh my gosh!!!! Why haven’t I heard of this book before this?!!! I neeeeds it. I’m a huge fan of the recent Sherlock Homles movies… The way all the details fit in? Mind blowing for me!! And plus I love stories where the narrators don’t get on. Awesome.

    • Christine P

      You need to buy this, girl! It was phenomenal. If you like the SH movies, you’ll love this! It was crazy how much like him Mina was. She was insane at deducing things. I loved how Mina and Evaline butted heads. It kept the book interesting and fun. Highly suggest!

  2. Disquietus

    Must. Read. This. Book. It sounds so good and really historical with a Sherlock Holmes meets Bram Stoker feel? WINNING ALL AROUND. Although I hate that there wasn’ta definitive answer. That will drive me crazy.

    • Christine P

      You need this book! So so good. Gleason captured both families perfectly. It was awesome. I built this up on such a high pedestal before I even started because the premise sounded great. I was worried that it would be a let down in terms of mystery solving and such, as it was done back in those times. Exceeded my expectations, for sure. Yeah, that ending killed me. Some things were settled,but a lot wasn’t. And now I have to wait a year to find out what actually happens next. Ugh!

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