The Dark Unwinding: Review
Steampunk novels are really hit or miss with me. Sometimes I find them too mired down in heavy detail, and then sometimes I find that the plot and character development are lost and/or totally overshadowed by the world and all the gadgets. I’m happy to say that The Dark Unwinding did not suffer from either of these problems, mainly because the story is very light in Steampunk elements and heavier on the Gothic mystery (which I love).
The story revolves around young Katherine Tulman. Katherine is sent by her greedy aunt to live with her uncle and evaluate his mental state. It’s made clear that Katherine is expected to deem her uncle mentally incompetent in order to secure her cousin Robert’s inheritance, therefore securing Katherine’s lifestyle once her aunt passes away. Katherine makes the journey to her uncle’s estate expecting to meet a lunatic, but what she finds instead is a brilliant, though slightly eccentric inventor who employs hundreds of out of place workers by building his inventions. It’s then that Katherine must make a tough decision — save her uncle and the workers of Stranwyne, or commit her uncle and secure her own financial future by committing him.
What most captivated me about this book was our lead character. I really believed in Katherine and I could feel her inner conflict. She didn’t feel like a caricature, or like your typical, cookie-cutter YA heroine. She’s strong and determined, yet has a good heart. I especially loved Uncle Tully. It’s obvious that he is autistic, and Ms. Cameron portrays him wonderfully without turning him into a poster child. Another major plus to the novel is the world Ms. Cameron has invented and the mystery surrounding Katherine’s family. I didn’t expect the Gothic mystery that I found between the pages and it was a very well-written surprise.
While I did feel the plot dragged in places, overall I really enjoyed this one. Creepy and atmospheric, The Dark Unwinding was a refreshing read and one I highly recommend to fans of Gothic mysteries and light Steampunk.