Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published: August 14th, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased
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 admit I had very high expectations for this book, it was one of my most anticipated books of the year.  So it wouldn’t take much to leave me feeling disappointed.  Fortunately this book was everything I expected and more!  First of all it’s a mesh of all my favorite genres; steampunk, fantasy (and all the fantasy creatures I could ever dream of!), and historical.  The historical bit isn’t really historical, but you know, all the fun stuff like bustles and manners, etc. It’s actually an alternate London that is basically faery land.  But it’s unlike any other book I’ve read that takes place in a faery land and so don’t go picturing that just yet.

This book is told in alternate chapters by Vespa and Syrus.  This worked well because they are such different people seeing things in a completely different way as well as from a different place.  This allows us to see and learn much more of this crazy world that Tiffany Trent has created.  My assumption was that Vespa and Syrus would have romantic interest in each other, but it’s not quite as I expected and in a better way then I could have hoped.  There’s a different love interest actually and I liked it much better that way.  There are plenty of twists and turns and unexpected things that get in the way so the romance that is here is on the back burner, but it is there.  I’m hoping in the next book this will expand a bit.

I already touched a bit on the characters and I don’t really know what else to add.  I really liked all of them, the good ones and the bad (you know in the hateful way you must) and I think they played their roles incredibly well. The evil ones were perfectly evil and the good ones were amazingly brave and daring as they should be.

I think it was the incredible world that Tiffany Trent has created that completely won me over for this book.  Because it was just that, incredible.  She pretty much blew my mind with all the creative stuff she did.  This book was completely different from anything else I’ve ever read.  It had a stronger fantasy feeling to it then most steampunk since it’s a fantasy world, except the New London which didn’t feel like a London to me much at all.  The creatures, the creeping waste that’s taking over, the tinkers and their history… it was all so perfectly done and so easy for me to picture.  Now because she has created such an incredible world don’t be expecting constant action as there was a fair bit of world building to do.  But I never felt bored or like there was an overabundance of description.  Much of it we see as the characters do, as they discover horrific thing, or as they recall stories they have heard.  So in this way we do get the ‘show’ rather then the ‘tell’ and it kept the plot moving forward and everything stayed plenty interesting.  The last quarter of the book or so was simply impossible for me to put down.  It was constant action and everything was unfolding before us, revealing things we never could have guessed on our own. And the ending was absolutely fantastic as we get the conclusion we need but still crave more of the beauty that is this book.

I most definitely, very highly recommend you pick this book up. I recommend this to fans of steampunk and fantasy alike as it’s equal parts of both.  It’s a stunning book and I most eagerly await the next one nearly dying as I need it in my hands immediately.

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  1. I love it when a book really delivers; when it meet the high expectations you have. I’m new to steampunk, but this book sounds great! Fantasy is really my thing. The alternate POV sound like fun. Thanks for sharing your lovely review! 😀

  2. I am so excited that you liked this one because I picked it up too and haven’t seen many reviews it.

    It sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to start it!!

    Great review Candace!

  3. I started to read this one and i stopped after like 20 pages. I wasn’t in the mood for a complicated steampunk at the time and what I did read I understood zero! haha. I am still curious though so I do want to give it a try. I love very creative world building and it sounds like this one definitely has that. Great review, Candace!

  4. This might be the perfect Steampunk entry for me!! The world you describe sounds amazing and I love the blend in of fantasy elements! I didn’t really wanted to read it, but now I think I might miss out on an awesome book!

  5. I do not have this book on my list Candace, I think that is a serious mistake:( I love when one of my most anticipated books ends up being everything I wanted at more, that’s the best feeling:) I do love steampunk, so I think this bad boy needs to meet my Kindle today! Fantastic review:)

  6. I have been eyeing this since I saw the cover but I haven’t seen any reviews. This sounds awesome and you know how I am about world building and a five star rating! Excellent! Adding to the list!

  7. Mel, I hope you give it a try and enjoy it!

    Kindlemom, I don’t know why I haven’t seen more reviews! I think it deserves a lot more attention!

    Giselle, I think you need to give it another shot. 20 pages isn’t really enough and yeah, there was a lot to take in but it didn’t take long for me to understand everything.

    Danny, I hope you can read it soon!

    Jenny, YAY! I hope you love it! (No pressure or anything 😉

    Heidi, Woo hoo! That makes me happy!

    Liesel, I’m so glad so many of you are adding it to your list! I hope you love it too!

  8. I’m glad you liked this one, Candace! It isn’t a book that’s getting quite as much attention, so I haven’t heard as much about it as I might have wanted. It’s especially nice to hear that the characters are awesome!

  9. This is one that’s been on my to-read list for a while so I’m happy to hear it didn’t disappoint (it always scares me a little when I go in wanting to love a book!). Awesome that the world and everything else lived up to your expectations!

  10. I haven’t heard much about this book yet but I recognised the cover right away. Your review has made it sound amazingly good, it’s great to know that the characters are unique and that the world is creative!

  11. Yours is the first review I’ve read for this, and oh what a good review it was! I’m so glad you loved it. I’ve been wanting to read something that falls under steampunk, so this sounds like a great place to start. :)

  12. I don’t think that I have ever read a steampunk novel before. I have always wanted to, but I’ve shied away. But this one sounds fantastic and after reading your review of Shadow and Bone (which convinced me to read it and I LOVED it), I totally trust your judgement. So this one is going straight on my TBR- close to the top.

    Thanks for the review.

    Sara @ Just Another Story

  13. I’ve read mixed reviews of this, but I really want to try reading it. I didn’t try reading steampunk deeply yet- just bits and pieces, but still not in a “cool” kind of way.

    Great review!

  14. I’m usually really skittish about steampunk since for some reason I just haven’t been hooked by the genre, but smoosh it with fantasy creatures and I’m so pumped 😀 Thank you for this review, it’s added to my to-read list!

  15. I had this one from the library because I wanted it since the moment the cover was revealed long before it released. Sadly I only got to read a few chapters before it was due back at the library but from what I did read I know I was going to enjoy the story. I guess I need to re-rent it!

    Thanks for the awesome review, now I’m sad I missed out because it was due back!

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