What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Clockwork Scarab is the first young adult novel by longtime vampire-fiction author Colleen Gleason, and includes a recurring, gory scene of a vampire attacking his prey, along with numerous references to "the UnDead." Besides the vampire world, the genre-mashup story includes characters and trappings from detective fiction, steampunk, Egyptology, time travel, and teen romance. There's a scene of an opium party (the heroines do not partake); several young society girls come to a violent end, and the heroines, besides narrowly escaping death themselves, witness a girl being electrocuted.
What's the story?
In an alternative, steampunk 1880s London, 17-year-old Alvermina (Mina) Holmes, niece of Sherlock, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram, receive a mysterious summons from Irene Adler (Sherlock Holmes' onetime love interest). Somebody is killing London's society girls at an alarming rate, and the Crown Princess wants them to investigate. The only clue: a mysterious CLOCKWORK SCARAB found near the bodies. Soon athletic, fashionable vampire slayer Evaline and studious, awkward Mina are putting their talents to work against a formidable villain. They're also dealing with three intrguing young men: a policeman, a thief, and a reluctant time traveler.
Is it any good?
Both the Sherlock Holmes stories and Bram Stoker's Dracula have spawned more than a century's worth of fanfiction, as both Holmesiana and vampire tales have become thriving genres of their own. In that context, The Clockwork Scarab's premise is intriguing, but at least in this first volume of a planned series, not fully realized. As the title's overtones of steampunk and Egyptology suggest, the tale, told in the alternating voices of the two heroines, features a sometimes chaotic collision of genres.
Fans of vampire fiction, historic fiction, steampunk, Sherlock Holmes, or tales of the occult will find intriguing portals into unfamiliar literary niches in this novel, though they also may find that the disparate elements never quite gel. Many issues that remain unresolved will probably return in later books, the first of which is due in 2014.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the steampunk universe: Why is the theme of an electricity-free world so popular? Would you like to live in that world?
If you've read other stories involving Sherlock Holmes or Bram Stoker and Dracula, how does this compare? Is there anything about The Clockwork Scarab that sets it apart?
Queen Victoria's on the throne, but almost all other women have very little power over anything in their lives. How does this affect Mina, Evaline, and the story? How would the girls like today's world?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Book characters, Friendship, History, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Publication date:||September 17, 2013|
|Number of pages:||356|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||12 - 18|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|