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The Dark Unwinding (The Dark Unwinding #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,837 ratings  ·  605 reviews
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.

Hardcover, 318 pages
Published August 27th 2012 by Scholastic Press
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Community Reviews

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Emily May
What an exciting debut! However, I feel the need to point out immediately that fans of steampunk may be disappointed by The Dark Unwinding which to me belongs firmly in the historical fiction genre. I would define steampunk as a kind of Victorian science fiction and wouldn't count merely having an inventor who creates a few wacky machines - you're likely to believe this novel is steampunk if you believe Frankenstein is steampunk. But whatever, this was an incredibly enjoyable story that gets bet ...more
A decent dose of creepy, this was!

The Dark Unwinding started rough for me. For the first quarter of the book at least I had a very difficult time getting into it. My attention kept waning, my mind wandering. I think mostly caused by my own restlessness, though, but surely not helped by the ambiguousness of the plot by that point. It has a strong show rather than tell writing style; while it's not always easy to initially situate ourselves in a story told as such, it does remain my preferred way
Tamora Pierce
Katherine has been sent by her grasping aunt to put her uncle in an asylum, clearing the way for her cousin to inherit his property. On her very odd arrival at her uncle's peculiar house, Katherine discovers that her uncle has hired more than a hundred people and their families out of London's workhouses, that her uncle is definitely insane to the common eye, and that everyone knows she is there to throw them into the street.

And yet.

Her uncle invents things, useful things and deadly ones. Two of
Melissa ( Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf)
In this stunningly atmospheric and well crafted Gothic debut Cameron takes us to the brink of insanity and back. This book surprised me in the best possible way! Although marketed as Steampunk and was really a superb Gothic mystery with a tinge of romance. I haven't read a good Gothic tale in ages and this one delivered in spades.

Sharon Cameron's use of language is beyond beautiful in the novel...she winds a tale that is both gorgeous and frightening with her wonderful use of image
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Ana's Take:

Katherine Tulman has been given a simple task by her horrible Aunt Alice: she must go to her eccentric uncle’s estate in order to determine whether he should be committed to an asylum or not. They fear he has been squandering the family’s fortune – to be inherited by Aunt Alice’s young son one day. Although Katherine has no reason to be loyal to her loathsome Aunt, she also has no other option as she is Alice’s ward and as such is wholly depen
Rhiannon Ryder
There was much to love in The Dark Unwinding, historical lavishness, steampunk curiosities, mysteries around every corner and an enchanting cast of characters. I was hard pressed to believe this rich world, and beautifully written plot were the creation of a debut writer.

Sold originally as Clockwise Turning, The Dark Unwinding and it's untitled sequel were sold pre-emtivly to scholastic back in 2010. And after looking at some of the extras on Sharon Cameron's site about the estate which inspired
I've waited almost a year to read The Dark Unwinding, but it was a worthwhile wait. It's always a pressing fear in the back of my mind that by holding off on an unfinished series, the hype will cause my expectations to escalate in such a manner that I will be left disappointed when I finally do get around to the book in question. Quite thankfully, however, The Dark Unwinding is the unusual exception to the rule, living up to its hype and more. While I hesitate to label this novel as steampunk - ...more
Going in to The Dark Unwinding, I was unsure what to expect. The gears on the front made me think steampunk, while the image of the manor behind the girl made me think gothic historical. It is the latter that is actually the truth: for a book being marketed as steampunk, there is very little of that actually taking place, unless you consider clocks to be steampunk. What you get instead is a page-turning mystery, fantastic portrait of mental illness, the societal constraints placed on women of th ...more
The writing struck at once a chord. It's quite beautiful, really.

Plus, the comprehensive gothic manor-house-package including grinning porcelain dolls, chambers full of one-of-a-kind clocks, hidden rooms, cobwebby nurseries, draughty chapels, squeaking trapdoors, ambivalent housekeepers and mute little servant boys has really been polished to a shining perfection.

On top of that, I had already warmed up to the reluctant, but bright and sassy, Cinderella-style heroine, Katherine Tulman, with her
Courtney Stevens
I've read it four times. Need I say more? Just in case the answer is yes, buy this one today. The couplings in this book are awesome. Romance. Family. Villains. Great twists on a historical stage. And folks, there's a castle. Now I know I don't need to say more.

Three and a half stars: A book full of twists and turns that keeps you on your toes!

Katharine hates living under her Aunt Alice's thumb, but as a seventeen year old orphan, she is forced to accept the charity of her aunt and do her bidding rather than risk living in poverty. As a young woman in 1852 options are limited. Katharine currently keeps the books for her aunt and it is her job to protect the inheritance of her cousin, Fat Robert. When her aunt informs her that she is to visit her uncle
Emily Akelaitis
I did not finish reading this book. I was barely at page 100 when I said to myself,"This is the most boring book I have ever read." I tend to enjoy every book so if I didn't like this one, it had to have been pretty bad. I apologize to the author, but I am a pretty impatient person. The whole mystery,for me, was not worth reading through to the end for.
With her uncle burning through money, Katharine is sent to Stranwyn Keep, the family estate, to gather evidence of his mental incapacity so he can be committed to a lunatic asylum. On arrival she discovers that her uncle does indeed skate the fine line between genius and insanity but she also finds a town that has been built up around him with the singular purpose of insulating him from the world...and at the centre of it all is the enigmatic Lane who will do anything to protect her uncle.

Once upon a not very long time ago, there was a girl. She was, as are all good heroines, an orphan. There was also present in the excellent cast an evil aunt who had no redeeming qualities whatsoever and many evil qualities such as superficiality, horrible-mom-ality, greediness and horribleness to the niece she took on as a ward not out of the goodness of her heart because the jury’s still out on whether she has a heart but for some reason. Or other. Which is hinted at later in the novel. This g ...more
Full Disclosure: When I started reading The Dark Unwinding, I had no intention of writing a review. I wanted to read a book without having to stop every few pages to make notes; to read without having to worry about what I was going to write for its corresponding review. In a sense, I wanted to enjoy the book with no strings attached. As you've probably guessed by now, that plan never came to fruition. The Dark Unwinding, Sharon Cameron's début novel for teens, is a book that deserves a review - ...more
Melinda Jane Harrison
Firstly, if I had to recommend one book to wannabe YA authors from this year (2012), I would recommend this book. If I had a writer's group and we all were to use one book as a critique on what's right with writing, I'd choose this book. I say this because I am a writer and I read all books like a writer. This is a wonderfully written novel. A very solid read. With lots to recommend.

When I began reading this book, I knew that it contained no paranornmal elements, that it was a straight
There are some really neat ideas and strong world building in The Dark Unwinding, but fairly weak relationship building keeps it from being a great book. Every time two characters (especially the two romantic leads) had a scene together, it felt as though Cameron knew intellectually that she needed to have them spend more time together in order to make their relationship plausible, but the actual content of their interaction was virtually irrelevant, as long as it could fit the criterion of +1 o ...more
I picked up this book a while ago. It ended up towards the bottom of my to be read pile. As it is my goal this year to make a dent in this pile, I finally picked up this book to read it. I am sorry I did wait so long to check out this book. I liked all of the gadgets that Katherine’s Uncle Tully created. His child like imagination is infectious. I could not help but have a smile on my face. I wished that I was there with Uncle Tully having play time and winding the clocks.

Ok, so where was the r
Check out my interview with Sharon Cameron, My Friends Are Fiction

I love this book--very well done. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out--oh how I love Mr. Tully! There were certain aspects I didn't like but don't want to include spoilers. Overall I loved reading this one--once I started I had trouble not reading it. Beautiful cover, thank goodness I picked this one up based on how lovely it was.

Full review from my blog, My Friends Are Fiction

The Story:
I first read The Dark Unwinding lo
Amy Jacobs
This book was suppose to be a sort of steampunk, gothic, fantasy, young adult mash-up. While I agree with it being young adult and dark, I don't think it had too many elements to make it a true steampunk book. Yes it is set in the Victorian era and there are some things that have the machine like feel to it, but beyond that there isn't much more to classify it as that. I may not have a full understanding of what steampunk is truly about, but if this was it then I am not missing much.

Putting that
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Review originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

Sometimes I can tell immediately that I'm going to enjoy a book. There's just something in the writing, the tone, the way the words flow in those first sentences that declares the book an utter delight. For me, The Dark Unwinding was one of these books. That first sentence shown above hit the perfect level of amusement and concern for me as a reader. Cameron hooked me with that and sustained my interest consistently all the way through.

Katharine d
Jenni Arndt
I feel the need to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of historical fiction at all. To make it clear to you just how much I am not a fan of this type of novel let me let you in on a secret: I have been known to put down a novel at the mere mention of the word “speakeasy.” Yes, it’s true. But along came a review request for The Dark Unwinding and I was very intrigued because I had been told by a few good friends that it doesn’t feel like a historical novel when you read it. I am ha ...more
THE DARK UNWINDING won the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work in 2009. Now, in 2012, everyone can read Sharon Cameron's debut and judge it for themselves.

Katherine Tulman is a young orphan living with her penny-pinching Aunt Alice and cousin Robert. Then news comes that her uncle might be insane and squandering Robert's inheritance. Katherine is dispatched through the moors to Stranwyne, the family estate, in order to bear witnes
The Dark Unwinding is marketed as “A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!” for teen readers. Having finished Cameron’s novel I’m not sure that I agree with the marketing copy. Yes, there is some spine-tingling creepiness in the novel as Katharine starts to question her own sanity; however, my biggest complaint is the lack of steampunk elements. The machines that Katharine’s uncle made does not make the novel steampunk and the rest of the novel is more of ...more
Cover Blurb: Love it. You can’t see Katharine’s face - I’m okay with side profiles - so it works. I love the gears and the title’s font and the background; love it all. It definitely caught my interest when I first saw it.

What I Liked: This is one of those stories where it takes a little bit of time for the characters to grow on you. I loved the book doubly for that, because while I started out not especially attached to any of them, by the end of the book, I loved them. Katharine is a good, str
Jessica Harrison
Full review a Cracking the Cover
“The Dark Unwinding” is steampunk with a gothic feel. It’s not as action-packed as other steampunk fiction, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, the pacing provides a sense of purpose and allows readers to fully absorb the discoveries Katharine makes. There’s a lot going on in this novel, and if you read too fast, you might miss it.

One of “The Dark Unwinding’s” greatest strengths is the descriptive prose of author Sharon Cameron. The rolling estate, quirky characters
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: I must say that I am very impressed by the number of really good YA books that have come out this year. For a while I almost dreaded going into the YA section because I just hated everything that was new and popular, but it's books like these that gives me hope for the genre. I think this book had a wonderful new story line, a nice steampunk feel, good characters, and an overall classic appeal to it. The mystery was also intriguing and definitely not simple because ...more
The Dark Unwinding missed a few opportunities to do something different with the gothic genre. In the end, it added a bit of a steampunk element but added nothing new to the mix.
(view spoiler)
This review appears on my blog, Starting the Next Chapter.

Sometimes, one finds oneself in a state of stasis when it comes to hobbies and interests. When it comes to reading, very few of the books you pick up will capture your interest enough to perk up your curiosity and imagination. I have been in such a state lately and have definitely needed some truly engaging and wonderful books to pick me up. One of those books is the mysterious and dream-like The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Upon mee
Author: Sharon Cameron
Published By: Scholastic Press
Age Recommended: YA
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 5

"The Dark Unwinding" by Sharon Cameron was a wonderful YA read. It was full of the 'supernatural psychology'...adding some weird evil aunts, children, a whole clockwork of magical figures and you only come out with some kind of thrilling adventure that can really be enjoyed by the teens. This novel will definitely linger with you long after the read. You will also find "Th
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Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.
More about Sharon Cameron...

Other Books in the Series

The Dark Unwinding (2 books)
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“Warm sun and robin's-egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one's uncle to a lunatic asylum.” 14 likes
“I said, 'tart'!" she snapped.
Lane's brows went up, but I merely continued to smile, choosing to assume that her answer was a reference to where the berries should go, and not to my person.”
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