Saturday, September 14, 2013

ARC Review: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

The Clockwork Scarab
Author: Colleen Gleason
Publication: Chronicle Books (September 17, 2013)

Description: 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 a murder with only one clue: the 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.

My Thoughts: Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are both heirs to their family's legacy but otherwise don't have much in common. Evaline is the chosen vampire killer of her generation and is stronger and quicker than other girls. However, she has a problem with seeing blood and has never actually killed a vampire. She is pretty and social and impulsive. Mina Holmes is the niece of Sherlock and the daughter of Mycroft. She is reclusive and logical and scientific. She is also awkward both physically and socially. When they are teamed together by Irene Adler to investigate the deaths of some young society girls, they have a lot of adjusting to do.

The setting is London in 1889 but it is quite different than the London we knew. Electricity has been made illegal and steam holds the power. Weapons and vehicles powered by steam are common as are buildings held up by balloons. 

In the course of their, often separate, investigations, the girls meet three young men who are potential love interests. First they meet Dylan who is a time traveler from 2016 who finds himself in London as the result of touching a glowing scarab in a statue of Sekmet at the British Museum. Mina helps him out by taking him home with her. His goal is to return to his own time. Second, both girls meet Inspector Ambrose Grayling when they discover a body in the British Museum. He and Mina each try to outdo each other with their investigation of the body. Grayling also reappears frequently as he has a connection to high society. The third potential love interest is the most mysterious. Evaline meets a young man named Pix outside the British Museum. He has a strong Cockney accent and underworld ties. He also appears frequently in the course of the girls' investigation.

The story was well-written with a lot of time devoted to world building and building a relationship between Evaline and Mina. It is definitely the first book in a series and leaves plot threads hanging at the end. But I will be eager to read more adventures of these two intrepid young women. 

Favorite Quote:
"Miss Holmes," he murmured, his mouth just above my temple, "if you would allow me to lead, we might perhaps find ourselves waltzing a bit more gracefully."

"Oh, yes, of course." I forced myself to relax and allow him to dictate our movements.
I got this ARC at ALA. You can buy your copy here.

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