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The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Katherine Tulman has always been a girl to follow rules, so when her aunt orders her to investigate how her eccentric uncle is using the family fortune, Katherine complies. She’s perfectly prepared to do as she’s told—declare her uncle insane in order to protect her cousin Robert’s inheritance, of course—until she arrives at her uncle’s estate, that is. Uncle Tully may adhere to his own peculiar set of rules, but his quirks only lend themselves to his genius, and he might employ hundreds of people rescued from workhouses, but it’s all for a reason. Now that Katherine has come to see and care for the unique way of life with her dear uncle, she doesn’t know if she can betray them anymore. And as long held secrets at the estate come to light, Katherine realizes that there is so much more at stake than the fate of her uncle and herself.

I love stories that explore the unusual, the quirky, and the peculiar, so The Dark Unwinding seemed like the perfect read for me. And, for the most part, it was. I loved how Cameron portrayed Uncle Tully and the complicated story surrounding him; his almost childlike joy and stubbornness and his incredible technological designs were so enjoyable to read about, and the history of his family in relation to him was so intriguing to discover. With that in mind, though, I found that I was not quite as engaged with this story as I wanted to be. Despite Cameron’s charming writing, I couldn’t quite connect with Katherine’s voice or sympathize with her story. Additionally, the plot, though exciting, was not quite enough to pull me in otherwise. Overall, The Dark Unwinding is a pretty good and enjoyable steampunk read, but not overwhelmingly so.

The Dark Unwinding will be enjoyed by readers who also liked The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross and Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Scholastic and BEA

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