The Book Bird

My name is Nicole and I'm an aspiring editor. This is my place to review books and record my progress in reading. I mostly review YA books, with some others thrown in occasionally.

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

When Mina Holmes, niece of Sherlock, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram, get
called to the British Museum by Irene Stoker, they are in for a surprise. Young
society girls in London are disappearing and dying, and they all have a
connection - they all were in possession of a clockwork scarab before they died.
Mina and Evaline are called to solve the mystery, and with Mina’s sleuthing
capabilities and Evaline’s vampire slaying superpowers, what could possibly go
This book tried to do a lot of things, and it did none of them well. Mina Holmes
is supposed to be a female version of Sherlock Holmes. She has great at
deductions and is smart. Unfortunately, this is where the similarities end.
While Sherlock himself is constantly two steps ahead of the rest, is fearless,
reckless, and has no care for manners or others’ feelings, Mina has none of
these traits we know and love. Basically, she’s an insecure nerd. Everytime
Evaline, the other main character, brings her into a slightly scary situation
Mina cowers and runs away, trying to save her perfect hair and dress. This book
deserves an A+ for character depth, huh? When she’s trying to be nice and proper
in her interactions with the society people, I wanted to bang my head against
the wall. Evaline Stoker didn’t really have the same problem, seeing as she
wasn’t based on an already existing character. However, there was another
problem with the characterization in The Clockwork Scarab. Even though the book
was supposed to empower women, the male (potential) love interests somehow
always triumphed in the end and saved Mina and Evaline. I may be wrong, but
damsels in distress don’t exactly scream girl power. Along with character
issues, the world is very unclear and difficult to understand. The genre is
steampunk, but this doesn’t go beyond some steam powered inventions and dresses
with gears on them. There is an indication that London has platforms above
surface level along the sky scrapes, but they aren’t described well and I find
it unclear as to what they actually are. The time travel element of the plot
left a lot of questions unanswered - all of them, actually. That was actually a
recurring problem throughout this book. An interesting question would come up
and never be mentioned again. For example, there aren’t any vampires in London,
even though Evaline is a vampire hunter. Even though it seems like a pretty
important part of their world, this is mentioned twice in the book and never
explained. All of these problems overshadow any good part of The Clockwork
Scarab, and made an exceedingly disappointing book.