The Dark Unwinding
by Sharon Cameron
narrated by Fiona Hardingham
(gothic mystery, historical fiction)
I can’t tell you exactly why I decided to listen to THE DARK UNWINDING. But I can tell you that I am incredibly glad I did. Not only is it a good book, with a well-crafted story, but it is delivered with nearly flawless narration (by Fiona Hardingham). It was a pure joy to listen to.
Another reason I am glad I listened to this one instead of reading the book myself is that had I been in charge of the pages, I would have undoubtedly flipped ahead to discover the ending. And while bits of the ending were not a surprise to me, other bits were. I would not have been looking to see about the surprise parts, though I would have seen them anyway. I would have been looking for the various relationships between the characters and trying to determine if things ended the way I wanted. (I do this a lot. It was, for instance, a great comfort to me to know half-way through MOCKINJAY which of the characters Katniss ended up with, even if I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about.)
What can I tell you about this book? There is mystery. There is intrigue. There is romance (though of the sweet kind rather than the steamy). There are things that seem fantastical, but it is not a fantasy novel. (And as such this is a rarity for me. I don’t read many non-fantasy books; even when I read historical they’re usually historical fantasies.) I really love the way some of the characters seem to be one way on the surface, and then end up being completely different once you get to know them. I love how the uncle is depicted, and how his condition is treated not as an illness (to the people who care for him) and instead as just the way he was made. I love how the voice of the main character (Katherine) fits so perfectly with her personality. And I love the mannerisms of the guy that we’ll just call the hero.
I am not going to provide spoilers here. I am sure that if you like, you can find them online elsewhere. Or you could, you know, read the book. Be aware when you do, though, that this is not strictly speaking a steampunk novel as it might seem to be. Yes, there are elements that fit that theme. Yes, it is in the right setting in time and place. Yes, there are machines that do fascinating things. But this is more of a gothic mystery (as I read another reviewer state) than a steampunk novel.
It doesn’t really matter how you classify it. Not really. THE DARK UNWINDING is a wonderful book. From what I’ve read on the author’s website (sharoncameronbooks.com) there is a sequel in the works. And I will be looking forward to reading – or perhaps listening to – it.