The Clockwork Scarab


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The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Stoker & Holmes #1

2 of 5 stars

Sherlock’s niece and Bram Stoker’s sister team up with Miss Adler to solve a mystery when society girls begin disappearing and dying under unusual circumstances.

I was going to be subjected to simpering young men and gossiping ladies simply so Miss Holmes could look for beetles?  The most dangerous and exciting part of the night would be to avoid getting my feet trod upon or a lemonade spilled upon my gown.

Every once in awhile I enjoy a fun steampunk, especially when it promises such exciting characters as Sherlock Holmes’ niece and Bram Stoker’s vampire-slaying little sister.  When it comes to Victorian steam-era meets alternate history, this book has it all: clockwork devices, vampire hunters, the power of deductive reasoning, buildings anchored to the sky with helium balloons, Egyptian superstition, and time travel.

Unfortunately, its strong points also end up being its downfall.  Much like a clockwork itself, this book contains so many elements meshed together that it becomes jammed and ineffective.  Had this story finished off with a perfect final piece, a conclusion that would connect everything together and bring resolution, then I would have highly recommended it, but as it stands, that piece is missing and the whole thing suffers.  I feel as if the author wrote a much, much longer story that involved all of these elements, and that this is just the first 300 pages of that.  Too many mysteries are left unsolved, too many relationships hinted at but undeveloped, too many subplots not even touched on (no, we don’t meet a SINGLE vampire in this novel, despite the fact that one of the main characters is a vampire hunter!).  Despite it’s length, it just wasn’t enough.

Also, stylistically, I’ve come to discover that I don’t particularly care for multiple first-person POVs. Evaline and Mina are interesting enough characters, but their fierce independence, stubbornness, and determination make it difficult to distinguish their voices.

Overall: A smorgasbord of steampunk elements thrown together in a mystery (or two or three) that never really ends up completely solved.


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