The Dark Unwinding (Book #1)
Author: Sharon Cameron
Hardcover: 336 pages (my version is ARC paperback 318 pages)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published date: September 2012
FTC: Received ARC for review
I read this one back in August of last year. I can't believe it's taken me this long to review. When I first delved into the book I was so excited because it was perfect, a creepy Gothic YA book mixed with steampunk and likable Jane Eyre type of character. Awesome!! But when I finished the book I was a bit "hum." Not that it wasn't a good story - it was. I just think I got a bit too excited with the Jane Eyre/steampunk idea at the beginning and then - it's a trilogy, or at least a book number one. So while it didn't end on a huge cliffhanger like some, it didn't leave me satisfied at all and I want to know how it ends! I guess it did it's job. Maybe it's because I'm a bit tired of the trilogy trend in YA novels. Before I grumble any more...
A thrilling tale of spies, intrigue, and heart-racing romance!
1852. 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 remote English estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of childlike 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 has grown to care for - a conflict made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a mysterious 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 they know it. With twists and turns and breathtaking romance at every corner, this thrilling adventure will captivate readers.
I loved this story and the heroine Katharine Tulman was Jane Eyre awesome. Hopefully you understand what I mean by that - a girl with principles and morals with enough backbone to take care of herself. Katharine isn't just coming to protect her inheritance like some spoiled rich girl. She is an orphan and is living with her Aunt Alice and her spoiled over pampered cousin. It's really the unsympathetic and hard hearted Aunt who sends her to have Uncle committed with the bait that Katharine will be taken care of. In this day and age, an orphaned woman didn't have a whole lot of options so her mission is really of survival an self-preservation. Brilliant plot line really.
The uncle's eccentricities, his steampunkiness, and his insanely innovative community of workers is pretty darn cool. But you could see how the extended family and even society would look at this guy and think "insane!" (You have to check out Sharon Cameron's website to read about the actual historical guy/estate she modeled this after.)
I think the weakest link in this novel is the romance angle. I wouldn't call this a romance steampunk at all - so typing the book's synopsis that had "breathtaking romance at every corner" made me laugh a bit. I mean there is a romance angle - even an attempted triangle. But it's really not the point of this book. I think this one sets the stage for Katharine Tulman to come into the woman that she is supposed to be. I'm assuming and hoping that the romance angle is more developed and deeper in the following books.
I definitely want to see how the story plays out and it would be a series I'd be ok with my daughter reading if I had one :) But man, waiting for the next book in all these YA trilogies is starting to get to me. Anyone else?
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