When I first picked up the Clockwork Scarab I didn’t know what quite to expect. The concept was intriguing. The niece of Sherlock Holmes (daughter of Mycroft) and the sister of Bram Stoker team up to solve a mystery. Drafted to do so by none other than Irene Adler, the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes.
Mina Holmes is a awkward young woman who much to her misfortune resembles her uncle in every way. This has made her something of an outcast to the rest of London society as she lacks the natural beauty of other young women her age. She drives herself into the art of detection that her uncle has mastered. Not realizing until later that she has done this as a way to seek approval from her uncle and father.
“…It was the excess of emotion, Uncle Sherlock claimed. that made the female gender unable to make rational decisions and deductions. Which I’d spent my entire seventeen years of life attempting to disprove. At least in my case…”
Evaline Stoker is the opposite of Mina in every way. She is beautiful and readily accepted into the higher lofts of society. If only she desired to do so. Instead she has embraced what all the women of her family have done before her. To become a vampire hunter. She possesses strength beyond her appearance and great fighting ability. Only there seem to be no vampires left to kill. Also, Evaline gets queasy at the sight of blood.
The two main characters are well thought out. Young women, each with their own calling trying to make it in a world meant for men. The supporting cast is also strong. Irene Adler as a master spy. Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker each making an appearance. Stoker adopting Mina’s name for the female lead in a novel he is penning. Then there is the thief Pix and the strange young man Dylan who appeared from nowhere and seems unable to go back.
What is lacking here is actually a story. Or at the least a mystery to be solved. There is an Egyptian sect of worshipers who promise women freedom and strength only to sacrifice them for a purpose not made clear. It seems that Gleason did such a fine job of crafting these characters that the story pales in comparison. I will more than likely pick up the second book in hopes that she has a story that is worthy of such well written characters as Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker.