Review: The Dark Unwinding

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

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.

First of all I just need to say: I loved this book!

The Dark Unwinding is marketed as steampunk YA (romance) and I'm not sure why. While there are some sci-fi (maybe slightly steampunkish) aspects in the book, it's definitely not a steampunk. It's set in Victorian England, yes, but there is no alternate history, no vampires, zombies, parasols etc. Is it YA? Technically yes, but it's far from your avarage YA books, fortunately! Romance? Kind of, yes, but no insta-love and no cheesiness. I have to agree with Melissa, this book is first and foremost a wonderful gothic novel.

“Warm sun and robin's-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one's uncle to a lunatic asylum.” 

Just this opening line let me know this book was going to be special. The writing was superb. It read like a classic. I think it reflected the way people talked (and acted) in the 19th century very well. It was intricate, yet I, as a non-native speaker, had no problem reading it. On the contrary, I enjoyed the language very much.

The story itself was complex, dark, heartbreaking, painful, and beautiful. I liked the little and bigger twists. And I loved the ending, it was very bitter-sweet. So well done.
The atmosphere was indeed gothic. There was the gloomy manor with many secret passages, there was the mysterious wind howling during night, there were some extraordinary characters, and there was "madness" in many forms. 

I liked all the characters, even those unlikeable ones. I enjoyed not liking them.
Katharine, the voice of this story, was enjoyable. Put in a difficult situation, she tried to cope with everything as best as she could. Though she wasn't flawless. She was brave, and tough, because she had to be. But inside she was a kind person who was longing for a bit of human affection. 
Katharine's relationships with the other characters were built slowly and that made them really powerful. Everything was very complex and believable.

As I said before, this is a wonderful gothic read with superb writing. Anyone who likes Brontë sisters (Emily and Charlotte especially), or Daphne du Maurier should read this book!



Krystal Willingham said...

Wow, awesome review! I have been wanting to read this book for a while and now I really can not wait. :D

Petra said...

I hope you'll like it! :)

Book Whales said...

Perfect 5. Love your review on this, Petra. I need this book now. :D


Precious said...

Hi Petra! Hmm...I usually get in trouble for believing what Goodreads users say about the book's genre. I tend to believe them and get the shock of my life when I finally read it! :) This sounds great - love Victoria! :) Great review!

Fragments of Life

Petra said...

Read it! I hope you'll enjoy it. :)

Haha, I know the feeling! :)

Coffee Monster said...

Steampunk! I am sold! :D I will check this one out :)

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Thank you for a wonderful review, Petra! I've been mooning about this book ever since first awesome reviews started piling up. Gothic novels are one of my favorites! ;)

Petra said...

@Coffee Monster
But it's not really a steampunk. :)

Thank you. I think you'll like this one! ;)

Aline Tobing said...

Oh, I love you review, honestly! :D
I have to admit that I'm not really into gothic story. I heard about this book but didn't intend to read it until I read your review. And there's this giveaway in the blog too, just what I need! LOL

Thanks for reviewing!

Post a Comment

I love reading your comments! :)