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The Dark Unwinding

(The Dark Unwinding #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  5,627 ratings  ·  1,001 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 September 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
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Sarah Absolutely clean! It's an old-fashioned historical mystery romance with a great setting. I loved it. You might also like The Perilous Gard by Elizabet…moreAbsolutely clean! It's an old-fashioned historical mystery romance with a great setting. I loved it. You might also like The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. (less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  5,627 ratings  ·  1,001 reviews

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Emily May
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who likes historical fiction

Actual rating 3.5

Madness or benevolence?

If I had to describe this book in two words, it would be: hidden gem. This book is not what it seems on the first look or even on the second look. Only when you reach a certain moment of the story and only then you understand the difference between what I thought it would be and what it turned to be. And I liked it.

Let's clear some things. From my perspective this book sounded like a steam-punk fantasy (don't ask me why fantasy, it j

Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, own
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
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, ya-yr
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 de
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
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned-series
"Whooptidoo, first disappointment of the year!" Said no one ever.

I can't believe it. The Rook by Sharon Cameron was one of the most surprising reads of 2015. I loved that book...and what actually surprises me the most is that all the things I loved of that book were missing in The Dark Unwinding. I mean, where are the spunky, sassy characters? Where's my badass, sarcastic female protagonist? W-H-E-R-E???

But here's the most important thing: how in holy hell this supposed to be a Steampunk book? *
Emily Akelaitis
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Book One of the The Dark Unwinding series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author

Official Summary:

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 inven
Rhiannon Ryder
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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'm glad I decided to check out the audiobook from my library's online program on a whim - it definitely paid off! Full of mystery, memorable characters and just a touch of romance, The Dark Unwinding tells the story of Katherine Tulman, sent to her uncle's estate to have him committed to an asylum. Far from needing to by committed, her Uncle Tully is a genius, with inventions and a whole village in his employee.

What ensues once she arrives there is part spooky, part mysterious, with bits of hum
Courtney Stevens
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Katharine Tulman is a sixteen-year-old orphan, the ward of her cruel Aunt Alice. As the average female in Victorian England, Katharine is shut out of her family’s inheritance.

Speaking of the inheritance, Aunt Alice worries that her brother-in-law, Frederic “Tully” Tulman, is squandering it on the remote ancestral estate, and she sends Katharine to investigate.

Katharine is spooked by the moors, the thunderous weather, and the dark, labyrinthine house of Stranwyne itself. She’s also suspicious of
rachel ☾
Deciding to "read" an audibook for the first time was a pretty big decision on my part. It's been a long time coming, I know. But I couldn't have hoped for a greater introduction to the format than I got with The Dark Unwinding. It took me a long, long time to finish it - who knew that audiobooks took so damn long? - and there were times where I forgot who was who because it was so drawn out, but that is everything negative I have to say about the experience. I certainly didn't expect anything s ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it

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
Madly Jane
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
It's really hard for me to review this.

I guess I didn't like it. The writing was okay, the villain was very predictable, and the MC was a bit conflicted. (She has to choose between losing her own income or dooming nearly a thousand people to poverty. But she still has an obvious place she could live. I don't know why this took so long to be resolved on her part.) But I didn't hate this; I did kind of like some characters. And I am a bit interested in the sequel, but only a bit. Katharine and Lan
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Hazel West
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: g-steam-punk
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.

Lindsey (Bring My Books)
Reread: April 24 - 29 , 2016


First Read: May 22 - May 24, 2014

OH MY GOODNESS. I cannot believe it took me this long to read this book! (It was recommended to me by a friend whose suggestions I always end up loving ... must remember to read her recs sooner!!!)

First things first - this book definitely has a little Jane Eyre feeling to it, and I LOVED that aspect. A huge house that seems to have a life of it's own; a haunting
Dec 26, 2015 marked it as to-read
Yes! Score!
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
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 30/01/2017:

A wonderful piece of historical fiction, with plenty of fabulous characters to get attached to. I will say at the outset though, that while it sells itself as steampunk, I wouldn’t put it in that category. Yes, clocks and clockwork automata play a role, but the aesthetic that comes with steampunk is absent. If anything, I’d call it a gothic mystery.

When her cruel aunt feels that her son’s inheritance is in peril, she sends Kather
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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

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The Dark Unwinding (2 books)
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