Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Author: Colleen Gleason
Series: Stoker & Holmes #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Steampunk, Time travel
Dates read: 22nd – 23rd August 2021
Publisher: Chronicle Books
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t imagine what it would be like not to have any adults about, meddling in my daily life.
“Tonight, I ask, on behalf of Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales: will you do what no other young women are called to do, and place your lives and honor at the feet of your country?”
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, so to speak. And when two young society girls disappear – one dead, one 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: a strange Egyptian scarab. The pressure is on and the stakes are high – if Stoker and Holmes don’t figure out why London’s finest sixteen-year-old women are in danger, they’ll become the next victims.
This is one of those books that’s been on my wish list for ages – I finally managed to find a second-hand copy. And, from the very moment I received it… I was kind of desperate to read it. Turns out that my instincts were correct. This book is amazing. I love how it takes elements of steampunk, historical fiction and two very well-known literary figures to create an amazing storyline.
Having read both Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, I was intrigued by the idea of Stoker & Holmes as a team. What I didn’t expect was Irene Adler appearing at the very beginning of this story. That somehow, Gleason would manage to incorporate some of the best aspects of the original classics, without making it all feel like a total repeat. There was a great sense of fun and uniqueness that swept me away and left me smiling very happily as I dived further and further into this amazing world that Gleason has created.
Although this was a steampunk, this story had very much a cozy mystery feeling to it. I’m not quite sold on it sitting upon that shelf, but there is definitely that kind of feel to it. This story makes you constantly wonder who the culprit is. And you wonder how the women are going missing and why. But, you don’t really get that graphic, horror feeling that you would get from an actual mystery or thriller. You also get the fast-paced adventure feel of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
I loved this novel from beginning to end. It was fun and filled with a great setting. The mix of steampunk and historical / literary fiction worked brilliantly together. Then, there is the great characterisation of the two girls. Taking some of the character points from Holmes and Dracula, but spinning them into their own women who are capable of being strong and independent. I can’t wait to see how much further this story takes me and, ultimately, who the Big Baddy is.
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