Welcome to The Dark Unwinding review tour! I am honored to have had the chance to post a review of The Dark Unwinding - because I absolutely loved this book! Be on the lookout for my review of A Spark Unseen, the sequel to The Dark Unwinding, in September!
The Dark Unwinding releases in paperback on August 27, 2013! And the sequel, A Spark Unseen, releases on September 24, 2013! Check out the blog tour schedule for A Spark Unseen HERE.
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Book One of the The Dark Unwinding series
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author
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.
What I Liked:
Once upon a time, a girl won an ARC of this book from the author. She hadn't been blogging and reviewing books, so she didn't really feel the need to read the book immediately. She read bits of it, skimming the book, and the ending, and was so confused. She hated the ending so much, she waited an entire year to pick this book up again. Of course, her reason for picking it up again was because of this tour. It was an excellent excuse to FORCE herself to read it.
Anyway. That's my sad story with this book. I am seriously KICKING myself for doing all of that - skimming, reading the end, not actually reading the entire book - because this book was AMAZING. I love historical fiction books, and this one is a really great historical fiction book. It's got a bit of steampunk in it, which I loved.
Katharine (love how Cameron spells her name!) is charged by her aunt to go inspect the mental health and state of mind of Katharine's uncle. Uncle Tully is the heir of the family fortune, and greedy Aunt Alice wants to make sure that HER son, the next in line to receive the fortune, gets the fortune.
When Katharine arrives, she finds a slightly crazy old man with a child-like but genius mind. Eventually she grows to really care for her uncle. She comes to realize that she cannot let Aunt Alice take Uncle Tully away from his home, from building his machines and gadgets.
But, of course, something sinister lurks in London... or someone. Someone is poisoning Katharine, yet she doesn't know it. Time is running out to save Uncle Tully, save the estate, and save herself. Sounds exciting, yes?
I love the cadence of this book. You know how some books jump right into the whole you-are-the-chosen-one, go-save-the-world thing? This book doesn't go there. Instead, Cameron walks us through life in the Lower and Upper Villages. She lets Katharine get close to Uncle Tully and Mary and Lane and Davy. Cameron slips in clues and hints and the occasional strange happenstance, but the majority of the book is spent getting to know the world of Uncle Tully.
Thisi is absolutely necessary, in order for Katharine to understand Uncle Tully, and Lane's over-protectiveness of him, and for her to understand that she cannot make Uncle Tully go to an asylum. Everything that Cameron does, or places, in this book, is perfect. Nothing is out of place in the plot.
The character development in Katharine is huge. She goes from not sure of herself and her decisions, to running around like a crazy person, willing to do things despite the consequences. There is one decision that she might have made, that Lane would have hated... I couldn't believe that she might have done that! It was a super selfless decision, and I'm glad that she didn't have to do it.
The historical aspect of this novel is fantastic! Cameron did an excellent job with her research. Everything, down to the par about property entailment, given names, and etiquette were perfectly constructed in this book! I love historical fiction, and one of the reasons being that authors recreate a time once present. Cameron did a fine job of this!
Romance... there is a romance aspect in this book. It's not a large or overwhelming part of the book, which is really nice. The plot and action of the story is more important than the romance. And then, this book is set in the Victorian era (I believe it's the Victorian era), so the romance can't be overpowering. Unless we're talking adult historical romance. Different story!
The ending of this book is very bittersweet! When I first "read" this book, that was what I hated about this book - the ending. I thought that this book was a standalone. Of course, hearing about A Spark Unseen made me change my mind! So, it's a bittersweet ending, but it's not the end... yet.
What I Did Not Like:
Like I said before, the ending. I don't think it was completely necessary to end this book like that. Maybe begin the next book with that departure... but whatever, because I have the second book, and I've read it, and YAY for A Spark Unseen!
Would I Recommend It:
DEFINITELY! Especially to all historical fiction lovers. I can see why this book got nominated for so many awards and honors... it's great! An amazing book!
4 stars. Definitely one of my favorite Young Adult historical fiction novels of all time! I'm sorry I waited so long to read the entire book.
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About the Author:
Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.
Praise for The Dark Unwinding:
ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, 2013
Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of 2013
The Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award, 2013, SCBWI
ABC Best Books for Children, 2012
Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award, SCBWI, 2009
“Haunting thrills unfurl. . . .” –ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“Utterly original, romantic, and spellbindingly imaginative.” –USA TODAY
“Cameron’s eerie and suspenseful first novel offers gripping twists, rich language, and an evocative landscape.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Cameron, through wry, observant Katharine, spins a deliciously gothic tale. . . . By turns funny and poignant, this period mystery is a thoroughgoing delight.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Cameron has produced a ripping good read with all the drama, intrigue, and romance of a Victorian pot-boiler with mystery, suspense, and hints of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.” –VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES