Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Series: Stoker & Holmes
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Steampunk
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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 wasn't going to review this book - and as such this review will be short. There's just a few things I have to get off my chest.

#1: I really like the setting.
I'm a huge fan of steampunk in all it's forms and this book was kind of interesting with it's take. We've got vampires (okay, I've seen that before) but we also have time travel from the future - presumably our world - showing that this is a totally alternate reality, not the history we no at all. Electricity has been outlawed. Fictional characters are actually living humans. It's awesome!

#2: I cannot stand either of the two main girls.
They are superior to each other - at least in their thoughts - but insecure around men. And in most other situations. Another reviewer stated they 'are eager to prove their worthiness'. This is not something I like. They are completely different types so some disagreements are to be expected and even excitedly looked forward to - if you're anything like I am. However, by the 250 page mark, these girls still mentally call each other names - one's too pretty; the other's too smart - and gloat over each other. There is no feeling of friendship - not even a slowly building one. Until the last ten of less pages. In those few pages, I actually started to like both girls just a bit. But even so…

#3: I kind of hate the love interests.
Two of the three love interests are typical of historical fiction - where it is totally appropriate for them to dismiss the girls out of hand. They do get better - barely - but I still don't like their personalities. And why the hell does each guy have to have a square jaw? The only love interest I don't hate has borderline no personality. Also, it is nothing but annoying the way each of the girls fights her attraction and is simultaneously attracted and repulsed. Really, if we could have gotten rid of the romance that had to be shoehorned in, I think I would have liked the girls a lot more.

#4: Egypt
I've actually studied Egyptian history and culture. Not as much as I want to, I've taken courses on it, I have nearly a dozen reference books and Egypt has a very special place in my heart so do not take it lightly when I say research was done. There is a Pharaoh that is featured in here and I'd never even heard of him. I looked him up and, indeed, he is who the author says his is and did was she said he did. I am impressed. (Sad that is all it takes to impress me.)

Two stars for world building/setting and Egypt. No stars for characters.