Colleen Gleason: The Spiritglass Charade

The Spiritglass Charade: Stoker & Holmes #2
by Colleen Gleason
narrated by Jayne Entwhistle
(steampunk, historical fantasy, vampires)

(First of all, can I just say that “Entwhistle” is an awesome last name? Makes me think of Tolkien every time I read or hear it.)

This is the second book in the Stoker & Holmes series, and is nearly as much fun as the first book in the series. Part of the joy of that first book was discovering the world for the first time, and that will never be duplicated no matter how good subsequent novels are. That’s not my sole complaint with this second book, however. There are – as you might have guessed from the name “Stoker” – vampires in this novel. (There was only a small mention of them in the first one.) And while I did enjoy the plot and I think that vampires would have needed to show up in the series eventually, I got a bit tired of “vampires” being Miss Stoker’s answer to just about everything. I mean, yes. Hunting vampires is her reason for being, essentially. But she had no interest in the investigation the pair was hired to look into, and was only interested in sneaking away to search for the undead. It made me favor Miss Holmes of the two heroines in this book. (It was essentially even in the first book.)

Don’t get me wrong – there was plenty to like in this book as well. Since this was the audio version, I’ll start there. I really enjoyed the narration. I found it easy to tell the two main characters apart, and most of the secondary characters had distinct voices, too. Ms. Entwhisle did a great job of sounding like she fit the era, as well. Very well done.

And while I felt that the vampires were maybe too much a focus, I did enjoy the plot – and they were necessary to said plot. It just felt like there were two plots: Miss Stoker’s and Miss Holmes’, which were then merged at the end. A few more connections between the two early on would have been helpful.

I also enjoyed the interactions between our heroines and the rest of the cast of this book. Most of them were new characters, and it was fun to see how they behaved among young people about their age and social standing. (In the first book, when they were among other young people, they were mostly sneaking around and not truly interacting with them.)

I’m assuming there will be more of these books, since there are still plenty of loose series threads. And – at least for now – as long as they keep getting published, I will keep reading (rather, listening to – these are worth the audio version) them.


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