Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Author: Colleen Gleason
Series: Stoker and Holmes
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Steampunk

Why I Read It: I haven't read a lot of mystery novels lately (as in, in several years). The plot sounded somewhat intriguing, so I gave it a go.

A Quick Introduction: Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker hail from great legacies. Mina is the niece of Sherlock Holmes, and Evaline is the younger sister of Bram Stoker. Mina has, like her family, a gift for observation and deductive logic, and Evaline is a vampire hunter. The two are enlisted to help solve a string of murders of high-society girls, all of whose bodies are accompanied by a clockwork scarab.

What I Thought: As I mentioned, this story was an interesting and ambitious concept from the book jacket, and it didn't mention everything. I think that a little too much was undertaken in this novel- there's vampire hunters and detectives and time travel and magic (possibly). I think it was felt like there were a few too many concepts- maybe if the time travel and magic parts were taken out. If the story had been more mystery-focused, rather than jumping from idea to idea to try to pull them all back within reach, I think I might have been more engaged.

It was still an enjoyable read, though. I preferred reading Mina's point of view to Evaline's (she annoyed me a little bit at times). As a team, they struggle in this book- there's a lot of tension between the girls, and I hope that their relationship will improve as time goes on (it was improving toward the end, but I hope they'll work together better in future...).  I do feel with the sort of "Sherlock Scan" that is done by Mina (observation and inductive reasoning from the evidence), could have been spotlighted a little more. (This is more a matter of personal preference, however, it almost feels like there were times when she ought to have caught something and didn't if that makes sense.) I'm curious about Evaline's legacy as a vampire hunter- will we get to see more of that part of her history and her family culture (does that even make sense?). We have a lot of characters that we have yet to get a background (or even a name in Pix's case) on. I'm hoping to see more of Mina's logic and deduction in future, that was one thing that I enjoyed, and as I mentioned would have liked more of.

 I wasn't really expecting that much steampunk in the novel either. The "Clockwork Scarab" should have tipped me off, but I was kind of expecting a slightly more Victorian London feel from it (maybe with some subtle steampunk nods), rather than something that seemed more fantasy-like. As I said before, it feels like there were an awful lot of ideas in the air during this story, and I feel as though it might have been more enjoyable had there been fewer themes being juggled. The multitude of ideas meant that the story never really focused in, and I think it suffered a bit for it.

In spite of the amount of chaos (I know I went on about that,but it really got to me at times), I am curious to see what adventures our heroines find themselves on next, and I probably will still give the next book a try when it comes out.

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