Book Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Vespa Nyx dreams of spending her days working in her father’s museum cataloging Unnaturals, fairy/mythical creatures, and one day becoming a Pedant (scholar) like her father, although there hasn’t been a woman Pedant in centuries. The time her father has allowed her to spend in the museum is quickly coming to an end as he has other ideas about her future, most importantly finding her a proper spouse. What Vespa doesn’t realize is that not everything or everyone in her world, including herself, is as they appear. Magic is heresy punishable by death, and Vespa herself may be a witch. Syrus Reed is a Tinker, a clan who respect magic and the Unnaturals but have been cast out of society to live in the wild. They must survive on their own without the myth power of the city, New London (an alternate London created when an experiment brought the human and fairy realm together). When Syrus and Vespa’s paths cross, he learns that she may be the key to saving not only his life but their whole world.
Why I picked up the book: I haven’t read any steampunk and I’ve been meaning to. The opportunity arose when I learned that Casper College was bringing in the author for a book festival this fall (Sept 2013). I was hoping the book might work for book club or OCOB.
Why I finished it: I wanted to know the fate of Vespa, Syrus, Lumin, and of course figure out who the bad guy is. I’m not a huge fantasy reader, so some of the unexplained held me up a bit but all in all it was a good, engrossing read.
I’d give it to: fans of steampunk and fantasy. Unfortunately the cover might turn guys away. I can find some similarities to the book “Chime” by Frannie Billingsley. There will be a second book The Tinker King in 2014. Tiffany Trent has also written a short story set in New London. “The Emperor’s Man” is included in the anthology “Corsets and Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances“.
Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)