Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Dark Unwinding series
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was a simple, yet well done story that had a gothic/steampunk feel to it. I really enjoyed reading it.
Katharine is sent by her rather unkind aunt to her old uncle’s dark and gloomy mansion; her purpose is to prove that her uncle is mentally unfit. Upon her arrival she finds big secrets in the creepy old house and the village surrounding it.
This was a quick and fun read. The book has kind of a gothic Victorian/steampunk/mystery feel to it. The house she is sent to is very dark and gloomy; the people who tend the house are quirky and mysterious.
I loved how the mysteries behind the house and the village surrounding it are slowly revealed to Katharine and at how she struggles with whether or not to reveal the secrets to her unlikable Aunt.
Katharine was an excellent heroine who was smart, gutsy, and fun to read about. She carefully considers her options and really steps up to the challenges that come to face her. There is a small amount of romance in the story as she comes to better know her uncle’s apprentice Lane.
The steampunk portion of the story is mainly focused on the interesting clockwork contraptions her uncle makes. That was really it for steampunk; the story is much more Victorian in feel than steampunk.
There are some interesting questions raised about madness versus genius; but outside of that this isn’t really a book that involves a lot of deep thought. The plot is well done with some unexpected twists and turns that will definitely keep the reader engaged and interested.
Although the book isn’t anything absolutely spectacular it was a fun, quick read and is very well written. I found it very engaging and read the whole book in one day.
Overall this was a great, yet simple, story. I enjoyed the subject, the mystery, the setting, and the characters. Katharine was an excellent heroine and I enjoyed the way she interacted with the world and characters around her. This is a beautifully written Victorian mystery with a dash of steampunk flavor. Highly recommended to those who enjoy Victorian mysteries. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.