Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

Title: The Unnaturalists
Author: Tiffany Trent
Genre: YA-Steampunk/Dystopian
Series: The Unnaturalists #1

Hardcover, 305 pages
Published August 14, 2012 by Simon & Schuster BFYR

Buy the Book! 

Source: (ARC) Publisher

Reading level: Ages 12 and up

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 remember the first time I saw the cover for this novel, it blew me away! It’s one of those books you would buy just on the cover alone, but the summary was unlike anything I’ve heard of before…fantastical/mythical creatures displayed in museum. These unnatural creatures are very much alive, but are like stone statues because they’re under a shield force that keeps them stationary. Hmm, where to begin? The novel wasn’t what I thought it would be. The book was told from two perspectives, Syrus the Tinker and Vespa, with chapters alternating between the two. The word-building was very interesting, setting in an alternative steampunk London but there were too much information to process and at times the lack of information. I felt there were many little stories all going on at once in regards to the main plot problem and at times when the author is mentioning an unnatural creature/or background information it isn’t explained thoroughly leaving the reader mystified and lost.

Vespa Nyx our heroine wants to break the traditional mold of what society thinks a Victorian lady should be, and while in the end she accomplishes that she didn’t stand out in any way through the book. I never felt a connection with Vespa, she never did or said anything remarkable. Vespa is supposed to be the savior of the people and have insane magical power, but nothing showed for it. Then there’s the love interest Bayne, I do not see anything appealing in his characters. His interaction with Vespa were odd, because he was always distancing himself from her or giving her the cold shoulder…it was very limited interaction. Most of the time he was trying to convince himself that he shouldn’t like her; I honestly don’t even remember the reason why! Syrus the Tinker was the only interesting character, with much more emotion than the other two main characters. I was more engrossed when his POV chapters came up than Vespa. The rest of the secondary characters in the books were MEH- I didn’t care for them, and they weren’t that memorable.

Overall this was a good book…not great but good. There were a lot of flaws, but the concept is so original, I just wish it was executed better. Why am I giving this book 3 star and not 2? It still a decent book, and like I said I love the idea of unnatural creatures being displayed in the museum, and as you read on what happens to all those disappearing unnatural creatures. While the overall book didn’t blow me away like the cover, but I think other readers might enjoy it more than me. This isn’t a fast paced book; everything that happens is at a general/constant speed. So, if you’re expecting a climax in the story or explosive action scenes…then you might want to think twice before reading this book, its more on the slow side. 

**Thank you Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book for review** 

FTC disclaimer: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Unnaturalists, and in return I provide an honest review. 


  1. I rated it a bit lower than you because I was mostly confused throughout the whole book. But i agree, the book's idea was excellent, I just wished for bitter and clearer execution. I never felt connected to any of the characters, not just Vespa

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  2. Yeah, you're not the only one Juhina lol, I still don't know what a Gruel (spelling?) it was mentioned at the beginning of the novel and the end...still bugs me. I'm surprised some readers gave this book 4-5 stars, but every one entitled to their opinions :).

    Thanks for comment!