The Characters: Mina Holmes, Sherlock Holmes' intelligent niece, and Evaline Stoker, Bram Stoker's sister and vampire hunter extraordinaire.
First Line: There are a limited number of excuses for a young, intelligent woman of seventeen to be traversing the fog-shrouded streets of London at midnight. A matter of protecting one's life or preventing another's death are two obvious ones.
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason is an engaging steampunk mystery. I liked the contrast between the two main characters: Mina is bookish, brainy, and keenly observant while Evaline is more action-oriented and adventurous; she also has inherited her family's supernatural vampire-hunting abilities. The fact that they don't particularly like each other makes it even more fun. The mystery itself is intriguing. Mina and Evaline (along with a cute Scotland yard detective named Ambrose Grayling) are investigating the deaths of three young society girls. In the process they stumble upon a secret society revolving around Sekhmet, the Egyptian Goddess of Death, and two mysterious young men with secrets of their own. I admit I'm a fan of steampunk and I liked the steampunk aspects in this novel, too, from steam cycles, to flying firefly lanterns, to the clockwork scarabs that are found beside each one of the dead girls. Want a fun and inventive steampunk novel? Gleason's YA novel won't disappoint.
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