Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Becky's View: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
♦publisher: Scholastic Press
♦release date: September 1st, 2012
♦hardcover, 318 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ALA
A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

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.

Review:  The Dark Unwinding was such a beautifully told story.  I can't say what exactly I was expecting---I've been reading a lot of steampunk lately and really enjoying most of it, but this one was especially good, without getting too technical or too caught up in describing all the overly detailed mechanical workings.  It was a perfect blend of steampunk, eerie gothic mystery, discovery and wonderment, and best of all, it had such an immensely touching human story. 

You get a feel for Katharine's dire situation from the beginning---her future and her position in life is very much under the thumb of her aunt and depends on her spoiled cousin's inheritance of her uncle's estate.  So, because her uppity aunt doesn't want to deal with it, she sends Katherine to declare her uncle insane to hurry along the process and make sure there is something left to inherit.  Katharine is a great character---strong-willed and fairly fearless, she goes into this with gusto, thinking this will be over and done with before sundown.  Little does she know...

There wasn't a single character that I wasn't completely fascinated with.  Lane, Ben, Davy,  Mrs. Jeffries, and the whole lot, each with their own strong personalities that jumped right off the page.  I especially loved Mary, who despite insisting on being Katharine's maid, was more like a very fiery, outspoken confidant to her.  And then there is Katharine's uncle, Mr. Tully.  Such an incredibly well written character.  He is not, in fact insane.  He is mentally disabled in a way that keeps his mind like a very young child's; innocent but extremely prone to tantrums and irrationality.  But his clockwork inventions are works of beauty and genius. I loved reading about him and the connection that he and Katharine had.  Loved that he never called her anything but "Simon's baby".   I was most impressed with Katharine herself, the ways that her character and her way of thinking and her values change and grow throughout the story from becoming part of her uncle's world, seeing the situation of the town's people, and knowing how she alone could impact their lives. 

Lots of twists and exciting turns in this dark plot.  So many times, you think you know where a character stands, only to turn the page and suddenly you don't know who to trust.  There are times when even Katharine comes into question!  There is some heart-stopping excitement and an ending that will leave your emotions battling between crying and cheering. 

Beautifully done---a wonderful, well-written tale of clockwork, nightmares, true loyalty, mystery, and even a bit of laughter and fun (Rolling!! You'll have to read it to see what I mean!).  I whole-heartedly recommend The Dark Unwinding!

Find Sharon Cameron online:  Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter

Purchase The Dark Unwinding:  Amazon  •  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. This is the first review I've read for Dark Unwinding, but wow, it seems like a great story. I sometimes like steampunk. It's days a lot that you loved all the characters. I may be adding this to my tbr. Great review!

  2. I love twists and turns in the plot, and I've been liking steampunk more and more lately, so definitely think I'll give this one a go. It sounds especially good because of the characters - it's unusual to really like/be fascinated by all of them, so I'm really intrigued by that! Thanks for the great review, will be adding this to my TBR :).

  3. I agree. This book is fantastic and Uncle Tully is my favorite character of the year and maybe in my top 5 of all time. I really, REALLY enjoyed this one. Great review. :)

  4. I'm glad that you liked this one so much! I've been passing over it on my shelf, wondering whether it was worth my time. And now I know the answer is... yes!