Monday, September 3, 2012

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

book cover of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release date: September 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 318
Source: BEA
Reading level: YA

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

The Dark Unwinding is everything I hoped for and so much more. I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately but nothing that I really loved. The Dark Unwinding definitely took me out of that slump. It’s historical fiction with a touch of mystery, romance, and steampunk. It’s one of the most interesting historical fiction books I have read in quite some time!
Katharine Tulman is not the best heroine. She’s a bit selfish, kind of cold, and very much a loner. However, she has good reason to be this way. She lives with her Aunt Alice who only cares about money and her obnoxious son (who reminds me a little of Dudley Dursley) and the only way for Katharine to survive is to think only of herself. She’s never had friends and quite frankly she’s not very personable. She doesn’t know how to handle people and it’s actually quite comical to watch her try. She really doesn’t seem like a character that anyone could like but she grows on you. She’s not as heartless as she seems and by the end it’s hard not to love her.
The cast of characters living on the grounds of Stranwyne are quite the mix. First there is Uncle Tully. He’s not quite right in the head but he’s by no means crazy like her Aunt Alice wants everyone to think. He’s actually a brilliant and talented man who just has his own set of rules for the world. The way I saw him was just as a cute old man who was very misunderstood. Mrs. Jefferies, the cook, was not the friendliest but she had her reasons. She was loyal, loving, and kind at heart. Davy and Bertram were probably my two favorite characters in the book. Davy is a mute little boy who has quite a few secrets of his own and Bertram is his pet rabbit. Mary Brown was the funniest of the characters. She was a bit of a loud mouth but she never said anything to hurt anyone. Lane was quiet and aloof but once again it was for good reason. I would have liked to know more about him though.
The mystery was not something I saw coming. There were times when I could guess pieces of it but I never put together the whole thing. Everything was steadily building throughout the book and it all added up seamlessly at the end. Strange things kept happening to Katharine and it was hard to tell whether things were really happening or if she was just imagining things. Stranwyne was a very odd place and it played perfectly into the mystery making everything seem creepier than it really was. I’m happy to say that the mystery was solved and most things tied up quite nicely in The Dark Unwinding but that doesn’t mean I’m not hoping for a sequel!
Overall, I was greatly impressed by Sharon Cameron’s debut novel. Someone please tell me there is going to be a sequel!
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  1. lisseth

    I have been a bit ify about this book, I don’t read many steampunk or mystery books, BUT from the look of things you really enjoyed it, SO I will be picking this at my library soon! ^__^

  2. Bookworm1858

    I was a little disappointed in this book because I thought it would be very steampunk as teased in the blurb and it is not. If there was more about the mystery aspect, I think I would have been better prepared and have enjoyed it more.

  3. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Katherine actually sounds like a very good character. Because of the flaws, I think I would find her extremely refreshing and real. I like it when you don’t see the end coming 😀 Great review and I’m putting this one higher on the list!

  4. Lindy

    This book sounds interesting with a full cast of unique and believable characters, that each have their own secrets. I love books were the characters are three dimensional, there’s a lot of world building and the main character shows growth. Based on your review, it sounds like this book has all oft those qualities. I will be adding this book to my TBR list.

  5. Kristen Williams

    I too was in a slump before I read The Dark Unwinding. I knew nothing of it but I HAD to have it because the cover was just so beautiful. I loved everything about this book. Great review! And is there going to be another?

  6. Christina Kit.

    The sequel was even better! I hope you read it!!

    LOVED the characterization in this one and Katharine was a very strong character. AS was Uncle Tully I think, despite his circumstances.

    Lovely review 🙂

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