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.
Set in 1889 London, The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes #2) brings back our dynamic duo of Evaline Stoker (sister to Bram Stoker) and Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock Holmes). This time out, Princess Alexander asks the girls to help despondent teenager Willa Aston find out what really happened to her brother Robby who disappeared and is presumed to be dead. Willa is so obsessed with finding answers, that she uses mediums and spiritualists to help her search. Something that goes against Mina's analytical mindset. If that weren't enough, vampires return to London after decades of being absent bringing a secret society along with them.
The narrative switches between two young women and readers can definitely tell what each characters strengths and weaknesses are. While Mina is like her uncle in that she is confident, studious, observant, and uses deductive reasoning to solve cases, she doesn't believe that there are vampires, and only accepts things that she can put her mind around. Evaline is trying to hold up her families place in the Venator society as a Vampire Hunter. She is definitely the more headstrong of the two and more open minded when it comes to the paranormal world. It is her job, her calling as it were, to hunt down pesky vampires and rid them from society without exposing herself in the process.
The most interesting character of the story: Dylan Eckhart, time traveling American from the year 2016. Not only does he save two VERY important people from death's door, but he also finds a way to use his futuristic knowledge while not altering the course of history. His back story, his desire to return home to a family he misses, and his relationship with Mina, keeps the story from wandering off the rails too far. While I really like the thought of Dylan and Mina together, I was more than happy with the the banter between Pix and Evaline. Pix is such a mysterious character that you have no idea when, or where he will pop up next and he doesn't back down to Evaline under any circumstance.
Gleason has a tendency of tying her series together while creating a vivid imaginary of the clothes the girls wear. Not only does she mention Victoria Gardella, the Venator leader who cleaned up London in The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, but she ties Evaline to her by blood and duty. Every family linked to Victoria has stood up for mankind against the vampires and their minions. It is now Evaline's turn to take the mantle. Gleason leaves us with a very tempting ending that opens up a whole new can of questions for both Evaline and Mina. Hopefully, it will lead to more adventures and the unraveling of more secrets in the next installment.
Author - Colleen Gleason
Title - The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes # 2)
Published by Chronicle Books
Released: October 7, 2014
Genre: Steampunk, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: E-Book 360 pages