The Spiritglass Charade
by Colleen Gleason
I received this ARC copy through Library Thing Early Reviewer Program in exchange for a honest review.
After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa “appear lunatic,” using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, “there are no coincidences.” It will take all of Mina’s wit and Evaline’s muscle to keep London’s sinister underground at bay.
I must confess that I did not read the first book in the Stoker & Holmes series when I received this book, With that being said, I’m pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying this book. I don’t know too much about what happen in the previous book except that Dylan, a young man from 2016 somehow found himself back in the late 19th century in the present of Mina Holmes, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes and Evaline Stoker, descendent of Bram Stoker. She also a Vampire Hunter. Too bad Mina doesn’t believe any of that.
In book two of the series, Mina and Evaline are on a case to found who is driving poor Ms. Aston insane. She sadly loss her mother, while at the same time her brother went missing. Along with some other young boys in London. On top of that the Undead are slowly making their way back into society after being gone from London for more 50 years. So many cases and crimes going on, that seem to be intertwine somehow, Mina and Evaline work hard, trying to figure out what is going on while at the same time trying to find common ground. They have two very different personalities that don’t always mesh well.
Although it was a fun read, I did have problems with this book. Things that irritated me to the point of me rolling my eyes. Yes Colleen Gleason is an excellent writer and the characters she has introduce to the world have potential for greatness but this series still needs some tweaking and research.
Told from the point of view of Mina and Evaline, I found myself wanting to read more from the perspective of Evaline. Mina was too up-tight and mature beyond her 17 years. I don’t know, maybe back then you were expect to mature in that manner. I just found it off-putting. I simply couldn’t take the adult voice out of the story anytime I read from Mina’s point of view.
Another problem I had was Dylan. Personally speaking there was no need for him to be in the book. Heck, he was hardly in the book to begin with. Yes I know Mina is working hard to figure away to return him to the future but at least use him within the book then he is already used. I honestly kept forgetting that he was even a part of the book. The last thing that I didn’t understand was the whole steampunk element or lack there of. I mean you can’t say something have cogs and gears and call it steampunk. There’s more to it than that and Collen Gleason does a disservice in my opinion. Just a little more research on the genre and this would have been more a 4.5 rating.
Besides my nitpicking this was a good story and well worth the read. I myself need to read the first book in order to understand everything from the beginning. Maybe my opinion will change once I read the first.
So if you are looking a young adult sleuth and vampire hunter mixed with time traveling and steampunk-ish theme give the Stoker and Holmes series a go. Available on most online bookstores.