Monday, September 2, 2013

[Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent]

"The Unnaturalists"
Author: Tiffany Trent
Series: The Unnaturalists #1
Pages: 305
Genre: YA, Alternate History, Steampunk, Paramornal
Date Published: August 14th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Format Read: Hardcover from the library


 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.

My Thoughts:

The Unnaturalists is one of those books that pulls you in with it's world building, giving you a world that is so well imagined that you want to know more about it, but that's not all.  By the time you reach the end of the book you also can't help caring about the characters and the adventure that they've included you in.  I have to admit that the beginning was a bit slow for me, but once I got a bit more into the story I couldn't wait to find out what the epic conclusion was going to be.

Trent has re imagined London and given it a new life.  Magic and science battle it out for their rightful place in the world and lies and deceit keep you on your toes as the story unfolds.  The Museum of Natural History turns into The Museum of Unnatural History and the saints that the New Londoners pray to are the great scientists of the ages.  It's an interesting concept and Trent plays it off wonderfully.  It's the way that she weaves the story together and isn't shy about throwing death in your face that keeps you interested in her new version of London.

The story is told from two points of view in third person, which really worked in this novel.  Both Vespa and Syrus have strong voices and equally large roles to play in the unraveling of the plot.  Neither of them is all that rich, but Vespa has the upper hand there.  As the only daughter of a scientist and owner of a museum, she has a decent social standing.  It also means that she has been raised to fear magic and worship science.  Syrus on the other hand is a vagabond and a thief, raised to revere and protect magic and the creatures that hold it.  I enjoyed their interactions when they happened.  Trent's world not only plays with magic vs science but also the class system and her use of her two main characters helped her out in displaying how the classes interact.  

Trent's characters are interesting.  Along with all of the humans that run around New London she also gives a voice to the Unnaturals (the magical creatures).  Piskel was one of my favorite small characters (and I don't just call him small cause he's a sprite).  He had so much attitude even though you never got to hear the words that came out of his mouth.  He became a loyal pal to Vespa, Syrus and Hal.  And Hal, he's one of my favorite characters in the whole book.  Trent never lets you know who her characters really are and I loved how she used Hal throughout the book.  

There isn't really much more I can tell you about The Unnaturalists without giving away the secrets that Trent has taken such great care to hide within the pages.  So I'll leave it up to you to dive into this wholly imagined world, to meet these characters that will stay with you and to go on one heck of a beautiful adventure. 

 4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

I love the sound of the world-building and the characters! I really like the setting too 'Alternate London' :D Great review and I hope to read this one soon!


Fly to the Sky said...

I've been really interested in reading this book! The world building sounds amazing!!
I'm always a bit skeptical about third person alternating POVs! But the way that the author did it sounds really interesting and well done!! Great review! Definitely need to read this book now!! :-)

Blythe Harris said...

This sounds really good! I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it. Steampunk, from what I've read of it, has proven not to be exactly for me, but the imaginative world-building and characters in this one may be an exception. Will have to check this one out! Thanks.

Giselle said...

I remember trying to get into this novel and I just couldn't. But I only got to like chapter 3 haha. I was just SO confused and steampunk is a hit or miss for me so. I do agree I could already tell the world building was pretty complex. And I love London settings in books! I'm also surprised that 3rd person dual POV actually was done WELL! Bravo!! :D

Shelly said...

The Unnaturalists sounds so interesting! I love books with great setting & world-building.I am definitely adding this to my to-read list. Great review! :)

Megan R said...

This one sounds really cool. So glad you enjoyed it and I'll be adding it to my TBR list.

Chrystal said...

This book has been sitting on my shelf for some time and your review has made me want to pick it up soon to jump into. Great review!

Eileen said...

Ahh I've seen this one floating around, but I definitely want to read it now. I love really good world-buidling, and it's been a while since I've read any steampunk, so why not re-introduce myself to the genre with this book? Also, I'm glad that the double POVs in third person worked so well, sometimes that can be a little controversial, but it sounds like it worked really well in this case :)

Fantastic review, Christianna! <33

Jessica R said...

I've taken this one out from the library twice now and returned it unread because I just didn't have time to read it. Having read your review, I know next time it will not be going back unread because it sounds SO DARN COOL. Seems like there's even more to it than I had originally imagined, and with cool and interesting characters like that I have a feeling I'll be drawn in, too. Thanks for slapping some sense into me in regards to this one! ;)

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

This sounds intriguing. I don't read a lot of steam punk, but I may have to check it out. I love the cover. Great review!

Emily Anne said...

This sounds so intriguing! I mean, New London and Unaturals? Great review :) Also, I really enjoy steam punk and the characters sound pretty awesome.

Nicole said...

Oo I think i'll really like this one! I think the re-imagining of London sounds really interesting! You need to stop reading all these good books I've never heard of, I can't keep up! ;)