Sep 9, 2013

ARC Review--The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

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, Colleen Gleason has crafted a fast-paced and romantic debut young adult novel.

I received this ARC while at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, I was in on way compensated for this review.

I was positively elated when I snagged a copy of Colleen Gleason's YA debut, The Clockwork Scarab. Not only is it just a new and YA read from Colleen, but it's set in the same world as her Gardella Vampire Chronicles, only 60 years or so later. Victoria is mentioned and is even Evaline Stoker's great-great aunt! But truly, this was an amazing read! Not only do we get Bram Stoker's younger sister, Evaline but we also get Sherlock Holmes' niece, Mina Holmes!

The idea to this story is just incredible! A delightful balance of paranormal and mystery and just to add in more fun, time traveling and Egyptian mythology--in some aspect. The case is heavily laded with Egyptian mythology and the goddess Sekhmet and how basically the crazy bad guy wants to bring her back to the world of the living and to do that he's been sacrificing young girls.

Evaline and Mina didn't know each other at first, but they are recruited by none other than Irene Adler to join a secret team funded by the Princess to look into "special" cases. Evaline the Venator and Mina the detective are an unlikely duo, both use to working on their own and taking the lead, they will have to learn to work together in order to solve this case.

I truly enjoyed the dual point of view between Evaline and Mina, both in first person which is always enjoyable to read! It was interesting to see how each girl thought of the other one and what else was going on for them outside the case, which naturally involved a bit of romance!

Evaline meets they mysterious Pix and the guy is definitely mysterious! I first thought he might be a vampire, although the word on the street is that vampires are practically non-existent, but yet Evaline is still a Venator with the strength, power and abilities that Victoria had years ago. Anyway, Pix and Evaline meet by chance one night and keep running into one another. It's clear that Pix has his own agenda but every now and then it seems to coincide with Mina's. It's definitely a growing romance of sorts but I was always happy to see Pix and hear his cockney accent on the pages.

Now Mina is a bit different. She's the smart girl, being Sherlock's niece, so she's pretty much the teenage girl version of good ol' Sherlock. Very smart and pays great attention to detail and deducing all that good stuff to solve mysteries. Although, she's never technically helped the police out like her uncle has. Her first love interest is Inspector Grayson. A young detective who is almost a match for her in the deduction department. He pays attention quite well, but not as up to par as Mina, maybe a level below her for Mina would never admit that he's better than her. There are definitely some sparks going on between the two, definitely heated, but not overly romantic just yet. It's definitely the one that could grow into something.

However, there is another. Who would've thought that Mina would be the one to be caught in a love triangle, but our time traveler, Dylan comes to this era by chance through the use of the Sekhmet statue. Mina finds this boy from the future to be fascinating and intriguing. There are more sparks between Mina and Dylan but nothing more. As Mina is trying to find a way to get Dylan back to his own time and home, but she will be sad to see him go. Mina is definitely going to have a tough choice to make somewhere down the line, I can only hope for her sake that it will get easier to make a decision as time goes by!

You don't have to have read the Gardella Vampire Chronicles--Colleen's adult series--to understand what's going on. It's simply set in the same world and the main character's name is mentioned. Since it's been years since I read that series, more than one name might even be mentioned but I wouldn't be able to say. Although there is a teeny, tiny spoiler to the last Gardella Vampire book in this one, but as it's been years since the last one released, I can see why Colleen decided to use this simple sentence anyway. But she does leave out the name and uses a simple noun to describe what was going on. I'm rambling about a simple spoiler sentence, so I will move on!

I truly, truly LOVED this book! It was so incredible and heart racing! Mysteries are always fun for me and I especially love reading mysteries with supernatural aspects! This one has it all! It's also a steampunk as well, with all the gadgetry that we've seen in previous books!

The ending was pretty epic too! Not quite a cliffhanger, but pretty darn close! It's going to be an incredible loooong wait til the next book comes out in Fall of 2014 and since I read this in May of 2013, it's going to be a painful wait. It definitely has the kind of Sherlock ending, I've only read snippets of actual Sherlock books, but think of the ending to the Robert Downing Jr. Sherlock Holmes and you would have that kind of ending here. A case solved, but not quite completed...

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

The Clockwork Scarab releases September 17, 2013


  1. This sounds really great, I enjoy the steampunk setting. I'll add it to my TBR. Great review.

  2. I dont' think I have seen this book before, but it sounds pretty interesting! I will definitely be adding it to my to-read list. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Is this Steampunk? I've not really read the genre and am really curious about a few books in it though. This sounds like a very interesting read :) The characters sound very interesting to me. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  4. This sounds like such a great book! I love the dual POV's and the mystery mixed with romance. Sounds fantastic :D Great review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  5. Oh my gosh, this book sounds right up my alley! Great review :) Also, I think I would love the dual point of view!

  6. Is it terrible that I shy away from steampunk?!? I don't even know why. After reading your review, I'm thinking I'll give this one a whirl since I like Ms. Gleason's writing. I missed this one at RT. Thanks for sharing it, Jessica!

  7. To be honest I like steampunk, I didnt used to, but I like it most diversity plays some sort of role. Having Egyptian influence, I wonder are there any characters of Egyptian descent.

  8. Awesome review. I just discovered this book this weekend and can't wait to read it, it sounds very intriguing. I am glad I wont be lost if I didnt read the adult series. I havn't heard of them before and I really want to dive into this book. Thanks for sharing.


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