Mina Holmes, niece of the great Sherlock Homes and Evaline Stoker, sister to Bram Stoke, have been contacted by Irene Adler herself under orders of the Princess of Wales. Girls are disappearing and turning up dead, each with a mysterious metal scarab beside them. Mina and Evaline will need to work together to figure out who is behind the terrible crimes - no easy task for a vampire hunter and a careful and knee observer!
This was a fun start to the series. It establishes an arch-nemesis, leaves things hanging, introduces various characters and potential love interests and leaves you wondering how Mina and Evaline's relationship will continue to evolve, if it does at all.
We are in a Steampunk version of London in 1889. I liked that it was actually explained why London had gone with steam rather than electricity (it was political) which is now outlawed. Mina is much like her uncle - meticulous, logical, and with a knee sense of observation. Mina misses nothing and always has a plan. Evaline is her opposite. Evaline, carrying on the destiny of her family, is a vampire hunter with supernatural strength. Evaline doesn't like to wait to figure things out, she'd rather act.
I find Evaline incredibly tiresome. She was constantly getting them into trouble because she couldn't just wait and listen before she felt the need to do something dramatic or punch someone. I found Mina much more likable, even though she feels the need to cover emotion with her cool, Holmes logic.
The book was told from both Mina's and Evaline's perspective. This worked well, as it allowed the reader to get a different perspective on the characters. Mina thinks herself plain and awkward, but that doesn't seem to come across to other people. Mina sees Evaline as beautiful and easily gets along with people, but Evaline sees herself as trapped in a world she doesn't belong.
There was a weird time travel aspect that didn't quite seem to fit with the rest of the book, and I'm not sure where it's going to go. While in the British Museum, Mina discovers Dylan, who seems to have been transported back in time by the power of the statue of Sekhmet. He helps Mina in the end, but mostly he just mopes about and their were sparks between them. But it was a bit odd.
Of course, both girls have potential love interests, although nothing is really for sure by the end of the book. Evaline was helped multiple times by a mysterious man called Prix, and Mina has a bit of a rivalry going to a young detective named Grayling. I predict some kind of love triangle between Mina, Grayling and Dylan.
By the end of the first book, Mina and Evaline have a grudging respect for each other. They have come to care for each other, but are they friends? It's unclear.