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 picked up The Unnatuarlists because of the cover (I mean look at how strong and elegant this woman is) and the promise of a fantasy-steampunk adventure. This is right up my alley; the premise is unique and interesting, and I love anything that mentions museums.
Tiffany Trent has built a unique world known as New London, which is located in a different dimension than that of the original London. Magical creatures, known as unnaturals, still exist here and such species are collected in museums, such as the one frequented by girl scientist Vespa Nyx. The steampunk society of New London revolves around science and is fueled by a mysterious substance, while the Tinker, a gypsy community, survives outside of the city walls. Tinkers, including Syrus Reed, survive via trade skills and commune with the unnaturals that still exist. I was all set to follow Vespa’s journey and the struggles of Syrus.
Unfortunately, The Unnaturalists reads like a middle-level draft, and I was frustrated by the lack of character and plot development. The point of view changes at each chapter bouncing between first person and limited third person; multiple POVs can be successfully written but there is nothing wrong with a solid, single POV. The world building was lacking, and I was frustrated because Trent has created a great setting. I just felt that there needed to be more description to better understand New London’s origins, and to establish a strong plot.
Readers follow three main characters: Vespa Nyx, Syrus Reed, and Pedant Lumin. Lumin was confusing because of his four various identities and Vespa was not the strong character that I had hoped for. She became too whiny to maintain her strong-willed female lead. I enjoyed Syrus’ story but it just didn’t not flow well with that of the other two. I just feel that the characters need a tad bit more depth and development.
I finished The Unnaturalists wishing it was as well written as the solid description on the cover. I do not plan on picking up the second book but I hope the best for Trent. She has a wonderful imagination that shines from her story. I just feel that she needs to hone her writing skills to make this a great series.
Let me know what you think of The Unnaturalists or Tiffany Trent’s other work!