Friday, August 24, 2012

Book Review: The Unnaturalists

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.

I received an arc of The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent for review. It's set in an alternate Victorian London and follows Vespa Nyx and Syrus Reed. Vespa is a young woman who lives with her father and aunt (her father's sister) and lives for working in her father's museum. This museum is filled with "unnaturals" which includes a sphinx, silphids, and other oddities. She longs to be a Pedant, but women aren't allowed to become take on that role. Syrus is a tinker. He lives with his family in the forest. They have their own village and way of life. They practice magic and are feared. But i much preferred their way of life over the "normal" people.

I don't want to say too much because there are a lot of twists and turns, and Tiffany Trent definitely keeps us guessing. Vespa is not who we initially believe her to be. Neither is Syrus. In fact, Pedant Lumin, Vespa's father, and a whole host of characters have secrets that you'll be dying to figure out. I really liked Vespa and Syrus. I loved that in this world Charles Darwin is considered a saint. And Arthur Rackham is named. There were a lot of little things that made my geeky self grin while reading.

One thing I really liked about The Unnaturalists, one thing that stood out and deserves a mention, was the lack of romance between the two main characters. Most every YA book I've read has romance. And while I'm not opposed to romance, it tends to be as big a plot point as the paranormal stuff going down. So this was a refreshing change. And have you seen this cover? The picture in this post is pretty, but you really must hold it in your hands to fully appreciate it. It's one of my favorite covers of all of 2012. And while you have this book in your hands, check out the first few chapters. Trust me, you'll not want to put this book down.


Candace said...

For some reason it seems like this book has not received the attention it deserves! I have not found many reviews of it at all. I loved it though and am so glad you enjoyed it as well!

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