I must admit, I did not know anything about THE DARK UNWINDING before it fell into my lap one day in mysterious circumstances. Fifty pages into the book, I still had no idea what the book was about other than a girl dispatched from London to retrieve her uncle and send him to an insane asylum. This book almost lost me multiple times as it wandered from lingering descriptions of moors to confusing depictions of a pseudo-steampunk workshop. It took a lot of patience to stick with this one, a lot of patience that many readers don’t have, but you know that?Patience pays off.THE DARK UNWINDING slowly unfolds, opening slowly before quickly unfurling into a dramatic, strange, and unique little story that is nothing like the first 50% convinced me. After almost giving up on this one several times, and taking several weeks to read thanks to reluctance, I finally found myself engrossed by the last 100 pages or so. The conclusion is twisting and engrossing, explosive and tense. But maybe I should start with the things I didn’t like.The Slow Build… AKA What Is This Book About?For the first…I dunno, 100 pages… I had a rather big problem. I had no clue what the book was about. Was it a thriller? A family drama? A steampunk fantasy? Truth be told, it wasn’t much of anything. It took a hodgepodge of ideas and flung them together awkwardly while being slow, plodding, and meandering. This book is not a steampunk, mind you – a few strange toys and steam-powered items do not make a book steampunk. Other than that, there was nothing steampunk about this novel. At all.The CharactersI didn’t care for Katharine, our heroine, for about 300 pages of the story. There was nothing that stood out about her outside her flip-flopping that rivals Mitt Romney on healthcare. She was alternately strong and extremely naïve, bold and submissive. The characters around her were also rather bland, with the exception of Mary, the witty, strong secondary character that I loved from the moment she came onto the page.Katharine’s love interest(s)? Okay, I’ll be honest. I didn’t know Lane was even a possibility for like 150 pages. For some reason I thought he was some elderly angry manservant until he was described as being something close to a romantic interest. And Ben? Yeah, I thought he was Katharine’s number one for almost the entire book. Way to throw a kink in my plans for swooning.BUT.I did like this one in the end! It’s just that it took a lot to get to the parts that blew me away. The ending when everything not-so-conveniently fell into place was awesome. There were so many twists that I didn’t expect, reveals that stunned me, developments that made me gasp and hunch closer to my book to disguise my delight from the people who watched me read. Luckily, I finished this one in the comfort of my bed. I finished and dropped the book to my chest and grinned.This one has a big opening for a sequel, and although I didn’t like the first 60% of THE DARK UNWINDING, I have to admit – I really want to read a second book. There was just something about the opening of THE DARK UNWINDING, and its middle, that I did not connect with, but once we find the reveals and twists, I was hooked and wanted more more MORE.I have some advice. Go in with an open mind. Do not be held to the preconceived notions of this one, and don’t be discouraged by a slow beginning that will appeal to fans of slow, description-heavy stories. This one is worth it in the end. But you have to get to the end first, don’t you? Exactly.VERDICT: Although the slow, tedious ending takes away significantly from the enjoyment of THE DARK UNWINDING, the epic conclusion makes up for a great deal of that. Check it out, but be ready for slow reading.