Spine Study :: The Carnelian Crow

FYI :: Possible spoilers if you haven’t read the first three installments in the Stoker & Holmes series. Goodreads synopsis found here.


Let it be said: Very rarely, and I mean RARELY, do I switch book boyfriends in a single series. This little beaut, though? It’s got me ga-ga over a whole different man, far from the one I adored at the beginning, at this point.

Allow me to introduce Ambrose Grayling.

Muh gawhd. This is what YA, “steampunk-gets-me-hot girls” dream of, y’all. I would polish his steam cycle, ifyouknowwhatimsaying.

Alas, I digress.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (4 Star) read due to a good chunk of sentimental attachment AND the fact the first 3/4 of this book is gorgeous. The worldbuilding continues to expand on an already addictive setting. The secondary characters sort of come to life instead of being white noise. The relationship between the two female MCs even gentles toward admittance of friendship.

Mina Holmes (Sherlock’s niece) is wicked, sharp, a tad arrogant, but everything I adore in a mental-prowess-MC. The way Gleason depicts her speech is so spot on that, even without the dual POV chapter markers, I knew instantly when the story switched back to Holmes’ side.

Evaline Stoker (Bram’s sister) was, in the first three books, my favorite of the two MCs. However, Evie lost a little of her shine in this one due to unfortunate circumstances. I understand why her brash characters has to be more “toned-down” in this installment but it still pained me to see the beautiful, raging butterfly suddenly caged and silent.

Side note: Bram Stoker was a douche.

Grayling, like I mentioned, took center stage for me this go ’round. He was brilliant in this one. In the (gruesome) situations where he defended Mina’s character and intelligence, yet still allowed her to be completely independent = whatta rockstar. And well written, at that.

Pix. Pix. Pix. Where art thou, Pix? The poor, handsome, fake-cockney, rogue was simply elevator music. However, I can see where the bridge of his character arc is headed. Leggo.


Mystery ✔️

Romance ✔️

Whimsical underground London ✔️

Awful cliffhanger ending ✔️

And when I say “awful,” I mean, awful. The resolution was what knocked it down to a (barely) 4 star rating for me.

I can get around the fact that we need to be excited about the final edition. But what I can’t get around is how all the sudden it just wraps up nicely.

And Pix’s final line before he’s hauled away in cuffs?

C’mon Gleason, you had better than that.


Overall, I still get drunk off this series. It’s fun and light and lovable. It’s got a dog and corsets and witty banter. Win-win-win, in my book.

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