Book Review: The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (4/5)

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Set in Victorian times, The Dark Unwinding opens with a gothic atmosphere. Our main character, Katherine Tulman, is a penniless orphan who must obey the commands of her tyrannous Aunt Alice. So when Aunt Alice sends her to the countryside to proclaim her uncle mentally insane, Katherine resigns herself to do so.

Little does she know, she falls in love with the world her uncle lives in. Her uncle is (I think) a savant. He’s marvelously talented at numbers and inventions, yet mentally a child. At his estate, a whole community of people flourishes – can Katherine really destroy everything they have? Can she commit her childlike uncle to an asylum?

I really liked the gothic, almost steampunk-like feel of the setting and atmosphere. The characters all have very distinct personalities and voices – Davy, the mute little boy with the hare, is particularly lovable. And then, the classic love interest, Lane, is stereotypically tall, moody, dark and annoying (to me).

For some reason, I think I liked the ideas more than the actual book. There is definitely skill, novelty and risk-taking in Sharon Cameron’s writing and plot…but I can’t help but feel like The Dark Unwinding could have been something deeper, something more emotionally entangling.

***book provided by Creative Kids Magazine for review

Read more of my book reviews here on my blog: Remembering Wonderland!

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Update: Last Batch of Books from Creative Kids

As July rounds the corner, my term on the Creative Kids National Magazine editorial staff is coming to an end… Over these four years, as an Advisory Board member (2009-2011) and senior contributor (2011-2013), I have greatly enjoyed the experience of reviewing books, submitting creative works and collaborating with the other advisory board members. If you haven’t heard of CK, look it up! And if you’re a kid, submit something! Creative Kids National Magazine is unique in that it’s the nation’s largest completely by-kids-for-kids magazine.

The end of this experience also correlates to a turning point in my life (turning 18). I hope this is when my writing transitions successfully from children’s/teen’s into adult anthologies.

But before my term ends, I have a batch of MG/YA books to review. They just arrived in the mail today. I’m always so excited to get books in the mail. Yeah, yeah, eBooks are good and economical and all, but…paper…shiny new cover…real ink… I’m devoting a blog post to this!

1. The Books of Elsewhere (MG, fantasy) <– I have great hopes that my little brother will enjoy this

2. The Dark Unwinding (YA, steampunk) <– I’ve only dipped my toes into steampunk and I really, really hope that steampunk will prove awesome and unconventional. Maybe I might try my hand at steampunk!

Thank you, Creative Kids! I have appreciated the extraordinary opportunity and hope Creative Kids will continue inspiring creative kids! Goodbye and best wishes.

Chapter Review: Unhinged — Chapter Sampler By A.G. Howard

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Unhinged, the sequel to Howard’s first novel Splintered, is coming out in January 2014. Splintered is a dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I previously got an advance copy of Splintered to review for Creative Kids — and I liked it. Didn’t quite make my favorite’s shelf for various reasons…writing style, themes, plot distribution, the existence of a love triangle…but still, nice YA fare.

Unhinged’s 1st chapter starts off with Alyssa being taken into the netherworld (where she goes when she’s dreaming or unconscious, I believe) by Morpheus. Morpheus…how do I explain Morpheus? He’s an awesome character…possibly one of the best. I usually hate the dark mysterious love interest, but Howard pulls it off really well for some reason…. Morpheus is just a master character. And he IS the caterpillar. The whole scheme is a macabre, delightfully terrifying Wonderland! I would never miss that.

I enjoyed the first chapter and will definitely be on the lookout for Unhinged once it comes out.

***e-sampler provided by Netgalley