Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Clockwork Scarab

My first book of the summer was a fun adventure about two teenage girls in a steam punk world. The niece of Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker's sister must unite to solve a series of perplexing murders.

Colleen Gleason crafts a compelling nineteenth century London for her characters to explore. Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are true to their respective families and display uncanny resemblances to their more famous relatives.

Readers will be drawn in to each girls' struggle to fit into society, understand the advances of bachelors and deal with family pressure. Typical teenage struggles are set against a backdrop of Victorian mores and cultural faux pas. As if that wasn't enough, a time traveling stranger draws the girls dangerously close to our world.

Female readers may find themselves enamored with the girls extensive wardrobes. Gear heads will thrill at the proliferation of gadgets and devices employed by the young heroines. Dirigibles fill the skies and electricity has been banned in a multi-layered world that is both familiar yet beyond our reach.

I appreciate that Gleason keeps her writing free from the vulgarities sometimes associated with steam punk literature. Her world of corsets and steam power compels the characters forward instead of miring them in crudeness. Any fan of Sherlock Holmes or Dracula will delight in subtle details drawn from those classic works of literature.