Friday, November 8, 2013

Review: Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)

Title: Clockwork Scarab
Author: Colleen Gleason
Publisher:  Chronicle Books
Publishing Date: September 17th 2013
Pages: 358
Genre:  YA Steampunk/Historical Fiction/Mystery
Series: Stoker and Holmes #1
Source: Audio


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 discovered this book among a blog I regularly follow. I hadn’t heard of it before but she liked it and I thought it sounded different, intriguing, and adventurous. I still havn’t heard much about this book but I couldn’t wait to start the audio. It was a really fun read. There was so much put into the story to make everything run together flawlessly. I loved all the elements, the steampunk setting, the historical characters, the mystery, the mythology, and the science. It was just a little bit of everything but it worked and more importantly it entertained.

This story is about a mystery of the disappearing and found dead girls of London. The mystery is being investigated by Evaline Stoker (Bram Stoker’s Sister) and Mina Holmes( Sherlock Holmes niece). Pretty cool. They are called together by Irene Adler . Just keeps getting better. She calls them forth to work in secret for the crown, solving these mysteries. So these two girls, one very beautiful and fierce, the other very logical and sort of a recluse, start to investigate. They find themselves in the company of street boys, a boy from another time, the London police, and of course the bad guys. They always seem to land themselves in the midst of it all.

This was a very well done story. Mysteries seem to be (to me) the hardest story to write, especially when it’s meant to be a complete mystery to the very end. This one not only had the difficulty of being a mystery, but to follow Sherlock Holmes style. I am very impressed with the writing of this book. It was very classic in tone. I loved the feel of the story. I felt it was another Sherlock Holmes mystery but with new characters and bit of the fantastical elements thrown in. What I really loved was the idea of the mystery being part of a mythical world. Holmes and his brood rely on science and logic to be involved and the heart of everything they do.. so lets throw in some mythology and see Miss Mina Holmes deduce. It was pretty awesome. Which brings me to the plot.. all I need to say is it rocked. I loved it from beginning to end. The mystery was done so perfectly. In the end I didn’t get the answers I needed…. But that just means I need to read the next book.

The setting was pretty spectacular too. It’s a definite hit or miss for me with steampunk. I love historical fiction and I love the idea of steampunk, but it doesn’t always work well for me in books. I think it’s a bit for me to handle on the tone of descriptions thrown in. It tends to slow the pace to a speed I can’t handle or its too much or to vague for me to picture. I know that books, especially ones such as steampunk, rely on the descriptions for the setting to come to life, Its just hard to find the satisifying middle for me. This book did just that. I was lost in the descriptions from the steam vehicles to the outfits, I loved it all and it so very clear.

The characters were a hoot. And yes I said hoot. The interactions between Miss Holmes and Miss Stoker were truly entertaining. Its hard to get a very logical and very magical person in the same room much less agree with each other. Miss Holmes always relying on deductions and science has a hard time going on gut feelings. Miss Stoker is a vampire hunter. She is strong, fast, and works on instinct not thought and really doesn’t have much in the deducing talents. So get them together and not only are they entertaining but they balance each other out. Quite well in fact. In the beginning they deal, in the end they were on the verge of friendship. I actually liked Miss Stoker better, She was the fun one, the dangerous one, the one who always ended up in trouble because she acted before she thought it out. Miss Holmes was a bit on the boring side and bit stuck up. She knew she was smart and in her mind was never wrong.

I would like to also mention the narrator for this audio. She was wonderful, there were so many characters and each one had a very unique self owned voice. She did an outstanding job on getting their personalities down and making them clear to the listeners.

The only downer for me was the pacing did get a bit slow a few times. Very few times though, in the beginning. After about 1/3 of the book, it picked up, then about 2/3 of the way it took off at jet speed. Once it started to pick up it didn’t ever slow back down. The beginning was filled with lots of build up so I imagine the next book will not have a problem with pacing at all. I am really looking forward to the next book.

A great story set in a historical steampunk world that gave off an awesome classic mystery vibe.


  1. Sounds interesting--curious to read about Miss Stoker's antics! I don't really listen to audiobooks, which is a shame since I would love to hear this wonderful narrator, as you say. And the trailer is adorable! Glad you liked this one, great review!

    Christie @ Read by the Undead

  2. Nice review. I read this recently and you echoed many of my thoughts. The steampunk was more of a problem for me than it was for you, I guess I like steampunk more in the background or not so obvious, I don't know, but totally agree on the characters. I liked Stoker more too, she was a lot of fun. And it was entertaining. Kinda wondering what Pix turns out to be. :)

  3. Sounds crazy interesting. I loved your review. Your blog is really cute too. Thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to check this book out.

  4. I sometimes have a hard time with the steampunk books too. I'm glad that this sounds like it isn't overly descriptive so it doesn't take away from the story itself. Adding this one. :) Wonderful review.

  5. I am always looking for a good audiobook and I love the idea that they are related to famous people!

    Kate @ Ex Libris


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