Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Dark Unwinding
YA Fiction / Period Piece. Historical Fiction -- but not boring!
I really liked this book and gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I have decided I'm going to be very persnickety about giving out 5 stars any more, but this was close to getting it.
First, I must address the cover of this book. I had an ARC of this book, and the cover was just solid black / unfinished. I drastically prefer that to what they ended up using for the book. Ugh. It's so like every other young adult book cover out there right now. Add some blood splatters and it's Anna Dressed in Blood. I'm so tired of this look to books, and this book is so much more creative than that.
Second, I was very interested to learn that the inspiration for the book was a Victorian estate in England called Welbeck Abbey, and the inspiration for a key character was the estate's owner, the fifth Duke of Portland. I do believe I will do some research to find out more about the historical truths, and that is something because I usually avoid "history stuff" whenever I can. So, if this can inspire me, I'm sure it can do the same with other readers. A good thing!
About the book -- the characters are fantastic, with the winner being Uncle Tully because he's so eccentric, interesting, innocent, and real. Katherine, the main character is richly developed and so easy to picture and even hear, and an excellent strong female heroine. Aunt Alice (boooo, hisssss), Mrs. Jefferies, Davy, Ben, and wonderful Mr. Babcock. . . there just wasn't a poorly done character in the book. Even when the characters didn't have huge roles, they had huge impacts. I knew the choice Katherine would make from the very beginning, but it was fun getting to the point where she made it. There was plenty of foreshadowing, but the ending was an unexpected turn and I was happy that it didn't quite resolve itself as I'd expected.
So why not 5 stars? Sometimes the story jumped all over the place. Sometimes the writing got a little basic. There were some things that happened that weren't fully explained and needed to be.
There's room here for a sequel, but I hope that Cameron doesn't go there. What made this book interesting wouldn't be possible to create in a second installment.