Standalone or Series? Series (Stoker & Holmes #1)
Published: December 1st 2013
Author’s Site: http://www.colleengleason.com/
Goodreads Blurb: Two young women of similar age and standing have disappeared: one found dead and the other still missing. The only clue to connect them is a small Egyptian clockwork scarab. Only Miss Stoker and Miss Holmes are well-positioned enough—similar in
age and stature as they are to the victims—to investigate. An unlikely pair, the fierce Evaline Stoker and logical Mina Holmes must follow in the footsteps of their infamous families—Miss Holmes has inherited her Uncle Sherlock’s keen investigative skills, while Miss Stoker has accepted her family calling as a hunter of the undead. The partners must find a way to work together, while navigating the advances of a strange yet handsome American, a clever Scotland Yard investigator, and a cunning thief, to solve the mystery of the clockwork scarabs.
Set in steam punk London, steeped in Egyptian mythology and literary references, with a surprising time travel twist and compelling romantic triangles.
How can I resist picking up the advance reader copy with such a blurb?! Have to discover how on earth steampunk, Egyptian mythology and time travel might mix.
A murder and a disappearance suggest that young, wealthy women in London are in danger, and no-one knows why the only clue being a scarab – the Queen wants answers and no-one’s likely to suspect young ladies of sleuthing. Irene Adler who once came up against Sherlock Holmes – and was deemed by him to be a brilliant woman – makes the shrewd assessment that his niece, Mina Holmes, and Evaline Stoker, sister of author Bram Stoker, would make a great investigative team.
The Holmes-esque murder mystery blends surprisingly well with elements of Egyptian mythology and time travel. There are beautiful layers of complexity to the storyline, but thankfully nothing too complicated. It’s well told and easier to understand than I thought it would be.
The plot has lots of layers to it, and the joy of reading this story is that each layer is gently peeled back as we turn the pages.
If Evaline isn’t being invited to parties or being flirted with, then she’s running headlong into danger. Mina’s more into thinking things through, but the case challenges her keen intellect, and she’s somewhat baffled to find her quiet personal life has…well…gotten a life. Attending parties, quarrelling with one Evaline Stoker and competing with the police are just the tip of the iceberg.
The only trait the girls share is a fierce determination to prove themselves. Personally, Mina’s my favourite. Her analytical personality may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I love kind-hearted, socially awkward geniuses.
The villain’s not easy for me to comment on so I’ll say he/she is cunning, and I can’t wait to find out more about them in the sequel.
Humour and flirtation are introduced to the murder mystery, time-travelling-steampunk, action-adventure in the form of three handsome young men. There’s the thief, the strange American and the officer. The flirty thief has the best dialogue since he’s a shameless flirt and seems like the only guy able to get Evaline flustered. There’s more to the American than first meets the eye, but my hands-down favourite is the smart officer. Book crush material right there.
There’s a twist in the world-building which I’m not going to touch on, on the surface we’re in a steampunk London, but given the time travel and mythology, there’s much more for the reader to discover.
Perfect for fans of steampunk, murder mysteries and witty dialogue. The Clockwork Scarab captured my attention with its world-building, vivid characters and humour – can’t wait for the sequel!
My thanks to Edelweiss and Chronicle Books for the advance reader copy of The Clockwork Scarab.
This counts toward my Steampunk’d Challeng 2013. 9 books down 21 to go.