Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent- Review

From Goodreads:
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.

The Unnaturalists is an intriguing blend of steampunk and fantasy, a mix I haven't previously read, but one that works so well together I'm surprised I haven't come across it before.  The blend made for a complex world filled with segregation, taboos and mystery, all of which greatly enriched the story.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of sixteen year old Vespa (an aspiring unnaturalist) and 13 year old tinker, Syrus, the reader gets to see the story from both sides of the problem.  Tinkers, a group deeply connected to the worlds magic, are reviled and outcast from the city of New London, which is filled with scientifically minded folk and where magic is outlawed.  Trent uses her society to highlight both discrimination and to talk about the environment, but she does it in an artful, and entertaining way, which keeps the story from getting preachy or didactic.

The Unnaturalists is action packed, full of intriguing twists and, best of all, can be read as a one off (even though there is a second part in the works).  Although I wasn't always convinced by the relationship between Hal and Vespa (why wouldn't Vespa explain to Hal she was being black mailed by Lucy? And why wouldn't Hal be suspicious? How come Hal didn't make the connection between Vespa's magic and the frog?), I did greatly enjoy the often contentious relationship between Syrus and Vespa.  The two are enjoyably feisty, and I look forward to them getting into more trouble together in book the second.

Not your run of the mill steampunk or YA romance, The Unnaturalists was a fun, quick read, perfect for the lazy days of summer.

The Unnaturalists, by Tiffany Trent
Published by Simon and Schuster, August 14th 2012
My copy kindly provided by the publisher

1 comment:

  1. WANT to read this … will have to suss out a copy somewhere … I'm totally sucked in by the cover!