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Book Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding had me pining again for MOAR stempunk! It definitely hit the spot and surprised me in the best ways.

Book Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

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the dark unwinding by sharon cameron

Title & Author: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Genre: YA Fantasy – Steampunk

Release Date: September 1, 2012

Series: Standalone (?)

Publisher: Scholastic

How I Got the Book: ARC via the Publisher


“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.”

Steampunk Returns

I’d been missing steampunk and I didn’t EVEN KNOW IT! I loved The Dark Unwinding – it was a wonderful combination of suspense, creepiness and…love (it strangely fit it, I swear).

One of the first things that drew me into the book was the heroine, Katherine Tullman, who is tough, appropriately selfish but ulimately sacrificing. She doesn’t exactly live a life of privilege, as she works for her terrible Aunt Alice who controls her money…and fate.

When Katherine has to vouch for the sanity of her eccentric uncle, she dives into a creepy castle of automatons and whispered voices.

At first, I was worried. I CANNOT handle really scary things. Or even slightly scary things. So, I was a little wary with The Dark Unwinding.

Although there’s nothing that screams “horror” about the book, there are definitely some spine-tingling moments that creeped me out. But, if you’re like me, you can definitely handle this novel. It offers tons of mystery without the obligatory spook factor.

There’s not a classic love triangle in the book – but there’s definitely some tension between Katherine and her uncle’s assistance, Lane, and the visiting Ben, from a prestigious college.

Other Things I Loved

  • The “evil stepmother” figure
  • Eccentric uncles (in books and real life)
  • Amazing food-related descriptions (nom!)
  • Plot that knows how to move


This book was fantastic! I loved the willful stubbornness of Katherine that paired with her uncle’s gentle craziness and Lane’s gruff personality. The Dark Unwinding is a great book to curl up at night – just make sure you don’t creep yourself out!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.