A Spark Unseen: A Review

A Spark Unseen by Sharon CameronWhen Katharine Tullman took charge of her uncle’s estate two years ago, she knew there would be difficulties. She knew there were people who might want Uncle Tully and his brilliant mind; people who might do anything to secure his genius for their own purposes.

She just didn’t know she would be dealing with these circumstances on her own.

Nearly two years have past since Lane Moreau left Katharine behind at Stranwyne, promising he would return to her when he could. Katharine has been able, if not happy, to wait until Lane disappears. When she wakes in the night to witness a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, Katharine knows it is time to leave her beloved home.

She travels to Paris hoping to find answers and security for herself and those she holds dear. If she is very lucky, she hopes she will also find Lane.

Unfortunately nothing in Paris is as Katharine expects. Soon enough she caught up in a web of deceit and the political machinations of two governments. Everyone wants something from Katharine or her uncle. But only Katharine can decide whom she can trust in A Spark Unseen (2013) by Sharon Cameron.

A Spark Unseen is the followup to Cameron’s debut novel The Dark Unwinding. This story picks up two years after the events of The Dark Unwinding in 1854. After the opening chapters the majority of the novel is set in Paris, France.

Unfortunately, this book suffers for the location change. Stranwyne is so vivid and evocative that it became a character in The Dark Unwinding. By comparison, the Parisian atmosphere in this novel feels dry and unexciting and much of the beauty was lost with the French backdrop. While Katharine is still a delightful heroine even her charms seem diminished as the focus shifts in this book to a convoluted arms race centered around Uncle Tully and his inventions.

Cameron maintains a sense of urgency and page-turning tension throughout the story that will keep readers engrossed. However there is so much plot and so much action that it left very little room for the characters that readers came to love in the first book (or new characters for that matter). So many details had to be packed into such a small space that the entire novel felt rushed and much more plot driven.

A Spark Unseen ties up the story of Katharine and Lane (and Stranwyne) decently enough–fans of The Dark Unwinding will likely want to pick up this sequel to see what happens next. Either way A Spark Unseen remains a very different reading experience from its predecessor, not to mention losing much of the whimsy found in The Dark Unwinding.

Possible Pairings: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown, Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray, Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*

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