*Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers. All thoughts and opinions are my own, my preferences may be different to yours. Please keep that in mind.
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 a murder with only one clue: the 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 clearly have a type, a clear preference for mysteries. Especially ones with a Sherlock Holmes inspired plot. And at the summary given, I was initially intrigued by this one. It sounded interesting with the added twist of having the main characters be the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker, who is also a vampire hunter. And at first, it was really interesting. I enjoyed the start of the plot and the introduction of the murders.
I had a hard time after the story started to pick up though. I didn’t want to be influenced by my low mood or upset stomach I had been struggling with so I did stop until I was feeling better. But my feelings didn’t really change.
Let’s talk about the characters. They each seem to have some sort of trouble or tragedy in their past but at the same time, they both act like stuck up assholes towards each other for no better reason than to add to some made-up rivalry. As for Mina Holmes, she very much lives up to her namesake and is highly observant and intelligent, which she uses as a shield and weapon. Antagonizing when she should be working with others. Very true to a Holmes nature. And then there is Evaline, given a burden she did not want and forced to play pretend with her brother’s family. It seems that this made-up rivalry comes mainly from her from some perceived notion that Holmes thinks less of her. Which, come on, this is Holmes we are talking about so it is probably true but it’s a just because situation. And it doesn’t really get resolved in an amicable way. More like ‘Huh, you saved me, I saved you. I guess we’re good.’ kind of way.
Beyond that, there are sprinkles of their backstory throughout the plot which I did actually enjoy, versus the usual dumped on you all at once. I am used to some stories having a very fast-paced plot where it seems like a lot is happening when it’s not. But in this one, there was so much going on. Like literally so much. It really started to annoy me.
Because then it started to introduce the supposed love interests and holy hell there is a love triangle. I dislike love triangles immensely. But the supposed love interests seem… I don’t know. Obvious? But not in a good way. And the over-exaggerated written out cockney accent Pix had drove me mad. I couldn’t understand half of what he was trying to say. I usually don’t have any issues reading an accent. If I’m not sure I will google it. But writing it out to such an extent was too much for me.
I must apologize if it feels like this review seems scattered. The entire time I was reading this I felt scattered. I was frequently met with frustration at how much seemed to be happening. It was fun. The story and plot are fun. I love steampunk and this was one of my first experiences reading a book with steampunk elements. And I was fascinated with how they portrayed them with steamcycles and different levels that could be traveled and all the different mechanical features people used every day.
The story itself didn’t really resolve itself in the slightest. I was left with more questions and no answers and I get some mystery is needed if there are sequels but there were no answers. At least I didn’t feel like there were.
I am giving A Clockwork Scarab three out of five cups of tea. I have a lot of thoughts about this one. There were a few things I did like, but other things I wasn’t the biggest fan of.
This mainly boils down to their being just too much going on. I am all for mixing things up and it not just being a classic murder mystery, but this was just too much. Beyond the Holmes/Stoker, there were elements of the supernatural, murder mystery, time travel, steampunk, and Egyptology? Any mix of those is great but I feel like all these together are just too much. It felt that with every new chapter something else was added.
I appreciate a story that has chapter headings and titles. It’s something fun to add and can help share even more information. But there were no numbers and no contents page. Which are something I love even more.
I regrettably had to force myself to finish this one. I don’t like doing that because I feel that it might negatively influence my opinion or thoughts about a book but I also felt that if I was going to talk about this on QuietBiblio it was only far to see it to the end.
In the end, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, I did actually enjoy the story but at times I felt overwhelmed with how much was going on and being thrown at me.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s book review! If you’ve read The Clockwork Scarab let me know what you thought. Or if you have any recommendations I am always open to hearing them!