The Spiritglass Charade
Stoker & Holmes #2
Book 1: The Clockwork Scarab
author : colleen gleason
pages : [hardcover] 360
favorite characters : mina & evaline
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.
If you haven’t already started this series, now is the perfect time to begin! You’ll have not one but two amazing mysteries to devour.
I loved The Clockwork Scarab and was infinitely excited when I learned it was going to be part of a series! I felt like there was so much more that could be done with the characters and The Spiritglass Charade really captured not only our leading ladies but the secondary characters as well. Mina and Evaline are truly a force to be reckoned with! I absolutely love seeing such strong women in this setting. As a steampunk book set in the Victorian Era, obviously there’s some sexism going on. Whenever Evaline and Mina need to face this, they kick butt and take no names. Honestly, throughout the entire book I was trying to decide which was my favorite. Maybe Evaline because I wish that I could be more like her, physically overpowering anyone who thought I was too weak to handle them. Or maybe Mina because she’s smart enough to outwit anyone, especially the men who think a woman can’t be an investigative spy.
And all of this is embedded in a wonderful, mysterious plot! I love how these stories are anything but predictable because of the way they unfold. While the ladies investigate, I’m trying to gauge what clue might lead them to their next step, but I only figure it out when they do. Which is wonderful, really, even though I’d like to think that I’d be better at solving mysteries! Sadly, it doesn’t seem like that’ll be my calling.
Another thing that I absolutely love about these books is the writing style. For me, the way an author writes is definitely a make or break situation and Gleason blew me away. Her writing is just the right mixture of cool, detached mystery combined with fantastical, complex imagery. Whatever she writes, I’ll be willing to pick up!
I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s a fairly quick read. While it’s the kind of series that focuses on a different problem within each novel, you’ll only get the full effect (and love the characters even more!) if you pick up both books . . . and book three, whenever that’s released!
AUTHOR INTERVIEW :
Did something inspire you to write the Stoker & Holmes series?
When I was writing my series about a female vampire hunter who lives in Regency-era England, my editor at the time said I should consider writing a steampunk novel one day.
I had no idea what steampunk was at the time (this was in 2006, when hardly anyone seemed to know what steampunk was!), but I looked it up and was fascinated by the idea of melding a historical setting with technology, literary characters, and an alternate history. So I let the idea perk for several years until I realized I wanted to write a steampunk novel for teens.
Then I began to think about how I would approach something like that, and what cast of characters I’d pull together. I wanted a “girl-power” team—a group of characters that appreciated the strengths and weaknesses of young women (whether they be male or female), because I thought it would be fascinating to juxtapose that sort of power over a time period where the female gender was very repressed—ie, Victorian England.
Add to that the fact that I am a big Sherlock Holmes geek, and wanted to write a female version of that amazing detective—plus my love for vampire hunters—et voilá! The Stoker and Holmes series was born.
What did you find most challenging about writing The Spiritglass Charade?
I would say that the most challenging—but yet most important part—of writing this second book in the series was to make sure both main characters showed some sort of character growth. They have to change somehow between the beginning and the end of the novel, and they will have to continue to change throughout the rest of the series (a planned five books). So not only am I working on significant character development for one character, as in most books, I really have to focus on two of them. So it’s twice the fun!
Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?
Yes indeed. When writing the Stoker & Holmes books in particular, I find myself heavily influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself (for obvious reasons), as well as Elizabeth Peters, who wrote with such a wry, pedantic, witty style—particularly in her Amelia Peabody books.
Who do you think you’re more like, Evaline or Mina?
Ha! Trick question…with a trick answer. I have elements of both young women in my makeup. I can be controlling, particular, and pedantic like Mina, and I am also socially capable, friendly, and sometimes impetuous like Evaline!
If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick?
Have you ever had the chance to solve a mystery?
Not in real life, though I’ve written several of them. Probably doesn’t count, though, does it?
What is the last book you read?
I just finished reading Someone in the House (a modern gothic/ghost story) by Barbara Michaels.
So, is anyone else incredibly excited to hear that there will be at least five books in this series! Because I’m so happy.
Follow the rest of the tour!
If you’re into Steampunk things, like the world Mina and Evaline live in, think about throwing an awesome Steampunk party!
The Stoker & Holmes Guide to Throwing a Steampunk Party
Of course, for a party like that, you’ll need a great costume!
7 Tips for Making a Steampunk Costume (A Stoker and Holmes Guide)
Start Reading the First Book!!
Clockwork Scarab Excerpt Scribd