Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Historical Fantasy
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Dark Unwinding series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the second book in The Dark Unwinding. I haven’t heard anything about there being a third book in this series. This book was a very fun read. I didn’t like it quite as much as The Dark Unwinding, but it was still very entertaining.
Katharine wakes up in the middle of the night to find intruders in her house who are attempting to kidnap her genius uncle. Even though the kidnappers are foiled, Katharine realizes that Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully. She devises a plan for her and Uncle Tully to flee to Paris to hide. She also hopes that while in Paris she will be able to hunt down Lane, who disappeared from her life at the end of the last book. However, when she gets to Paris she finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics and intrigue that is deadly to those she loves.
I actually like the first book in this series a bit better, I enjoyed watching Katharine unravel the mysteries of Stranwyne Keep and watching her and Lane forge a tentative romance. This book is much more focused on intrigue and politics than the first book and Lane isn’t in much of the story.
Katharine has grown a lot and is a formidable young woman. She sees the necessity of hiding her Uncle quickly and puts a plan in motion to do just that. While there she tries to navigate society politics in a way that doesn’t mar her good name too much. She also is dodging spies from both France and Britain in an effort to keep her Uncle’s marvelous inventions from being turned into instruments of war.
Katharine is fending for herself much of the story and fairly alone, however she does have her talkative and boisterous maid Mary at her side. Mary adds some humor and is a welcome addition to the story.
Lane is absent for much of the book and Katharine tries desperately to find out what happened to him after he fled Stranwyne Keep.
We do see some of Uncle Tilly’s wonderful devices, but not as many as in the previous book. I missed visiting his workshop and the descriptions of all of the wonders there that we saw in the first book. There is a little of that here, but there is much more focus on all the politics.
The book is well written and easy to read. The characters are engaging. The mystery unfolds nicely and is well paced. Everything is pretty much tied up at the end of this book, so I am not sure whether or not there will be future books about Katharine and Lane.
Overall this was an excellent sequel to The Dark Unwinding. The plot and mystery are well done and the characters are engaging. I was a bit disappointed that we were taken away from the dark mysterious wonders of Stranwyne Keep and that so much of the story focuses on spies, intrigue, and politics….but I guess that is where the story took the author. This book ties up the plotlines started in The Dark Unwinding very nicely. If there are future books in this series I will definitely read them. This whole series is highly recommended to those who love historical fantasy with a steampunk twist to it.