The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Length: 356 pages
Genera: Urban Fantasy
Subjects: Vampires, Mystery, Cults, Sherlock Holmes,Time Travel
How I obtained the book: Library; hardcover
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’m afraid that Colleen Gleason was trying just too hard with this book. The Clockwork Scarab was Gleason’s first venture into YA and it seems that she put all of her ideas for a book into one 356 page novel. The Clockwork Scarab is a book chimera; with vampires, Sherlock, steampunk, time travelers, and cults centered on ancient Egyptian goddesses.
Most of the aspects blended fairly well, except for the time traveling. It felt like it was slapped in because it had no real impact on the story. Dylan, the time traveler, wasn’t even a major character. He had maybe one major plot changing appearance and that’s it. He was really only in the novel for comedic effect.
The Clockwork Scarab is set in a (subtle) steampunk London, which was really interesting. I enjoyed seeing how Gleason only took little aspects of London and changed them instead of a mass overhaul. London is still as Victorian as ever, except there are steam-powered robots to help dress people.
Both of the main characters, Mina and Evaline, were undeveloped. Mina’s personality was generally unlikable and irritating, as Gleason went for the bookworm trope with her. Evaline was unremarkable, and even less memorable than Mina. I don’t know what to say about her because she wasn’t really anything. At least Mina had some emotion and personality, while Evaline had pretty much nothing going for her.
The story was surprisingly enjoyable. It wasn’t very remarkable, but it was entertaining enough to carry the book. The mystery was in the novel was well developed, if eccentric. I was genuinely interested in the mystery and I don’t often feel that.
The Clockwork Scarab was an enjoyable read, without any depth. While the characters were awful, the plot was definitely fun to read and I would recommend it to someone looking for a nice, light read.