Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler. I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?
Really, the only things that tie these books together in my mind is the time period they're set in and that they didn't unfold as I expected. Both stories ended up turning down paths I didn't expect. Now, some of this was how they were hyped to me and some has to do with their summaries. At any rate...
The Dark Unwinding sounded, to me, as if it would be a sort of sweet tale about misconceptions of genius and madness, with a bit of being true to yourself and finding a home and community -- with some automatons of steampunk machinery thrown in. While the book does possess these elements, it actually ended up being more of a gothic horror tale. There isn't any gruesomeness -- just lots of suspense and strange noises, secret passages and hidden agendas. Definitely, there's a good dose of paranoia.
It was fun read, and I look forward to reading the sequel. I especially loved the interactions between uncle and niece and how she came to understand an alternate way of thinking and to love and enjoy it. The book did end up being somewhat darker than I anticipated, but it all fits the story very well.
As for Shades of Milk and Honey, I knew it was a Jane Austen style book with magic added in. This made me think more of Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia Wrede -- which meant I was expecting more adventure and intrigue. These hardly exist in this book at all. That's not a bad thing, though. I found this a very pleasant read. It shares enough in common with Pride and Prejudice that it feels like returning to a beloved comfort read, but is different enough that it also feels fresh and contains enough -- of a small dose of -- tension to hold tighter interest.
The situations don't all mimic Pride and Prejudice but they all do fit within that milieu so you can anticipate much of where events are heading. You know how these sorts of characters will react -- it's really rather brilliant, I think, rather than feeling contrived or old hat.
I very much enjoyed the character of Jane -- probably because I feel a kinship to many parts of her personality. I am highly looking forward to the next book. In fact, I made sure to obtain a copy immediately! It will be a good read for this weekend when I'm away from home for a bit.