The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel (Stoker & Holmes Novels)
by Colleen Gleason
narrated by Jayne Entwistle
(audiobook, YA, steampunk, historical fantasy)
This book has been on my TBR list for a while, in great part due to the cover art. I will admit that I did judge this book by the cover, and this time I was not mistaken in that judgment. It was a highly enjoyable steampunk romp. There were some aspects of the steampunk world that seemed to be added for no particular reason (the “sky anchors” come to mind; the only reason I saw for them was to obscure something else later) but for the most part the world was well-built.
I wasn’t sure about the narration at first, but it grew on me. I think part of the reason I didn’t think I liked it initially was because Jayne uses distinct voices for each of the two main characters (Mina Holmes and Eveline Stoker) and Mina’s voice – which is the one used in the first few chapters – is harsher and more prim. Once I adjusted to the narration style and different voices, I thought the book and narration suited each other very well.
My biggest issue with this book was that about 2/3 of the way through, it became obvious to me that this was not going to be a stand-alone book, because there was no way they could finish everything to my (and hopefully the author’s) satisfaction. The end of the book brought with it quite a lot more resolution than I’d expected, but not enough to make me think anything other than, “yup, this was meant to be a series.” Will I continue reading the series? Probably. But I hope that the second book brings some better conclusion to the bad guy in the first book. I for one am not fully satisfied with that part. (A good sign: Mina Holmes is also not satisfied with the bad guy’s end, so that makes me hope that there will be more resolution of this in the sequel.)
Favorite parts… I like the character interactions between… well, between everyone. The two girls, the girls and their probable romantic interests, etc. I also like that the girls’ “famous relatives” show up, but only for very brief moments. I like most of the steampunk gadgetry. (As I said before, there are a few things that seem silly to me, but maybe there’s a reason for them that we’ll find out later.)