Early Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

August 13, 2012 Review 0 ★★★

*This title will be released on August 14th 2012*

The Unnaturalists

by Tiffany Trent

Genre: Paranormal Steampunk YA | Excerpt: No
Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Abigail | Source: Publisher

Rating

Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content

Kissing

Description

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

Review

The worldbuilding in THE UNNATURALISTS is top notch.  Fantastical creatures, mysterious magic, deadly consequences for those who misuse it, and an origin story that is so good it deserves it’s own book.  An entire society sprang up after Tesla–yes the Tesla–broke through to another world and took half of London with him.  There is no way back, so New London has progressed from this point in several alternate ways from ours.  The Victorian era never ended, and Steampunk/magic progressed.  Science and Logic are the religion of the day with references to St. Darwin and St. Bacon.  All these little details unfold beautifully and naturally throughout the book without ever resorting to dreaded info dumps.

Of the two protagonists in THE UNNATURALISTS, I only ended up connecting with Vespa, the curious and ambitious daughter of The Museum of Unnatural History curator. She had a contagious excitement about the creatures she studied and a reckless streak that got her into just enough trouble to be interesting without being foolhardy.  Syrus fell a bit flat for me.  He was written in 3rd person and is much younger.  His life as an outcast Tinker just didn’t grab me even as numerous tragedies befell him.

There is a small romance in THE UNNATURALISTS, though not between Vespa and Syrus.  It didn’t quite come together for me as I never fully bought into Vespa’s attraction for this guy.  She fell pretty quickly and repeatedly threw herself at him.  I would have preferred it if Vespa had kept her hormones in check and let the potential relationship simmer.  I didn’t end up feeling her anxiety when various obstacles sprang up between them.

Splitting chapters between two protagonists slowed things down as ultimately only one had a compelling story.  The romance also failed to entice.  The real saving grace is the worldbuilding.  The amazing New London and even more amazing history in THE UNNATURALISTS make it a good read for Steampunk fans.  No word on a sequel, but the ending certainly leaves room for a potential series.

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