Book Review of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Posted August 14, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 23 Comments

Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: Septermber 1st, 2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Source: I received a physical ARC of this book.

Blurb: 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 definitely one of my favorite books of 2012 so far. I wanted more than anything to give it 5 stars, but in the end, I couldn’t. The writing wasn’t perfect and I did find it dry in a couple of places. I found it a little too simple as well. I thought there were a couple of places in toe book where things could have been explained better, and I was left confused trying to interpret events for myself. I had to go back and re-read and I hate that more than anything. To me, that’s an automatic one star deduction. And it makes me mad that I had to do that. But as far as the negative goes, those are really the only complaints I have. 

Now I get to talk about the fun stuff. And the one thing that blew me away in this book more than anything were the characters. WOW. WOW. I cannot express in words how much they won me over. Especially Uncle Tully. I mean…I have no words. He is possibly one of the sweetest, most intelligent, and wonderful characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. He jumps off the page. He is so well-developed, and he is REAL. What’s that? He’s not real? *punches you in the face for saying that* I was so emotionally involved in this book that I was worried I was going to be devastated. The other characters were great too but Uncle Tully was the best. My favorite thing was how he called Katharine “Simon’s baby.” It just warmed my heart. I do believe Uncle Tully was Autistic. It was never specifically stated (unless I missed it) but implied. And I absolutely LOVED the portrayal of the disorder. I think the author did a FANTASTIC job painting it in a respectful way. Uncle Tully is a character you will absolutely fall for. You WILL NOT feel sorry for him because he is a unique character with wonderful traits. The other characters respect him and treat him as an equal which is as it should be. 

The story was incredibly entertaining. There is a mystery to solve, but also, Katherine has a decision to make. You will know right away which decision it is going to be, but it is an enormous amount of fun getting there. You will fall in love with the setting which is a character in itself, and you will want to walk this estate and be a part of this story. The Dark Unwinding is the type of book you escape into and do not want to put down. For me, the rest of the world fell away, and it was just me and this great, GREAT book. Like I said earlier, in places the writing was a little too simple for me and I wish a couple of things had been explained better, but it’s a memorable book that you will want to add to your personal library immediately. I don’t re-read many books but I can easily see myself re-reading this one.

I know some are classifying this one as steampunk, but I don’t really agree with that. There are a few steampunk elements, but for me it needs more than that to fit the genre. It’s more of a historical novel for me, and it certainly isn’t fantasy which is another genre classification I am seeing. 

As for the romance in the book, it was sweet and I loved it. I usually don’t care for the romance in YA books, but this one never overpowered the story. It was always about the story first, then the romance, which is just how it should be. Lane as a character is a love interest you can get behind. He is respectful, romantic, and he genuinely cares about the estate and Uncle Tully. He wants what is best for every character in this book, and yet he is still brooding and sexy. He had personality, and whenever her showed up in the book, he lit up the scene. He is one of many reasons you should read this book. 

I loved almost everything about The Dark Unwinding. I would recommend it to anyone who loves heartfelt characters, an intricate story, an atmospheric setting,  and strong world-building. 

To purchase a copy of The Dark Unwinding from Amazon.com, click here: The Dark Unwinding.

23 responses to “Book Review of The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

  1. Amy

    This book really sounds fantastic!! I am glad that the characters are really great. That’s the most important thing for me when reading a book. Thanks for the awesome review!!

  2. This sounds fantastic, despite it’s small flaws. You had me at historical fiction, I’ve been wanting to read another since I read Code Name Verity and the mystery in this intrigues me as well as the loveable characters 🙂

  3. OOOH, what a fab review, Kara! I’m looking forward to uncle Tully, the characters who stay with you long after you read the book are rare. Thanks for heads up about this one being a historical novel with steampunk elements, instead of straight steampunk. That way I’ll avoid being disappointed. Can’t wait to read it now!

  4. Just found you via Jessie of Ageless Pages Reviews who recommended your blog — thrilled to find it! I’m a new follower. Anyway, loved your review of this one — gorgeous cover, which is always a plus — I appreciate your honest thoughts about what did and didn’t work. (Of course, the woulda-been-perfect-if book can sometimes me the most maddening!) Adding this to the TBR nonetheless!

    • Well thank you, Jessie! She is a wonderful lady. 😉 Thank you for following. I returned the favor. I see that we have similar tastes in book genres. I am excited to see what books you like/dislike! I hope you enjoy this one. 🙂

  5. I feel like you and your rating system have a complicated relationship. It’s funny how some of my favorite books are actually 4 star reads (not even 4.5). Like, I know that they’re not the best book in the world, but I would give them ALL OF THE STARS if I could. Sometimes they just lack a little something that keeps them from perfection or they’re not really deep, but they do capture me from opening to closing.

    I should have a copy of this on its way to me. EXCITED.

    • We totally have a complicated relationship. Only I understand it. LOL. I don’t give half star ratings, so even if I give something 4 stars, there are other books I have given the same rating to that I liked more. This book though was so close to a 5 star rating. I SO wanted to give it that. I ADORED the characters.

      I hope you like this one, Christina.

    • I’m starting it SUPER soon. I also need to choose a character for a character interview. Hrrrmm. Maybe Uncle Tully if he’s everything that you say. That could be awesome, since I imagine the old folks don’t get chosen much. lol.

    • You definitely want to pick Uncle Tully. He is the most standout character in the book, although he might be a little difficult to interview as he is autistic. Should be interesting to see what the author does with that. 🙂

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge