No one knew that we needed this – an alternate history / steampunk / time travel / Victorian London YA novel starring the half-sister of Bram Stoker and the niece of Sherlock Holmes – no one except Colleen Gleason.
But once you've read The Clockwork Scarab (book one of what I hope is a long & prosperous series starring Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes), you'll wonder where it has been all this time.
Although this was my first journey into the worlds of Colleen Gleason's mind, I discovered that The Clockwork Scarab fits neatly into a larger universe that she's been creating since her first published novel, The Rest Falls Away – Book One of The Gardella Vampire Chronicles. She nods gracefully to her previous work in passing and then sets to work building this new department of her creation – no prior knowledge is necessary.
Gleason's inventive take on Steampunk Victoriana is bristly with machinery and all the famous buildings we know in our timeline are there, just surrounded by heavily built-up superstructure. You can feel the steam, smell the oil, hear the clanks.
Mina Holmes is impetuous and not quite as fully-formed as her famous uncle is in his tales. Evaline Stoker has recently come into a strange inheritance as actual vampire hunter (see the Gardella Vampire Chronicles for more), and she's still trying to figure out what her new powers might mean. Both young ladies have a lot to learn, especially about working together.
There's quite a bit of world-building and character-developing in this first volume, and a rather startlingly sudden ending. I'm left wanting Book Two quite poignantly. I must know what happens next!
Oh, did I not mention the time travel element? I suppose you'll just have to read the book to find out what mysterious stranger drops into their midst to complicate their lives and their investigations...
The Clockwork Scarab is due out in September 2013, but booksellers can seek out their Chronicle sales rep for an ARC, or click through to the Edelweiss page for the book to download an egalley.
The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel
by Colleen Gleason
Chronicle Books | 9781452110707 | $17.99 | October 2013