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The Unnaturalists

The Unnaturalists is a YA alt-Victorian steampunk novel by Tiffany Trent.

Fascinated with her father’s work in the Museum of Unnatural History, Vespa Nyx enjoys spending her days cataloging the Unnatural creatures of their world.

Yet her unusual hobby is growing less and less socially acceptable as she nears seventeen and is expected to be a respectable young lady with marriage prospects.

Just when Vespa is beginning to sullenly accept her tedious fate, strange accidents begin to happen at the museum and she finds herself running into a young Tinker boy that believes she has a role to play in the future of New London – as a witch.

But witchcraft is the worst possible violation in New London and punishable by death…

As a fan of steampunk, I was very excited to read The Unnaturalists and had been wanting to for quite some time.

Tiffany Trent excellently presents a fleshed out alternative world with magical creatures, various cultures and even a legend of how New London came to be.

Vespa as a characters is likable – not so stubborn as to be bratty, yet also sufficiently smart and caring. I wish I had felt like I got to know her better than I did – through and through – but I did like her.

One of the focal cultures was the Tinkers, which was a very interesting group of people that the nobility in New London both relied on and persecuted. There was some definite suspense involved in their camp and I found the history we learned about them to be intriguing. Yet, again, I still felt like I could have become more invested.

Keep in mind that I am adapting to a newly packed schedule with the addition of college coursework on top of my full-time job, and this has most definitely effected my reading. Instead of reading a book in two to three days it is taking me sometimes up to TWO WEEKS to read it. This changes the flow, which I recognize. So, as always, take any critique I may present with a grain of salt and read it for yourself.

Overall, The Unnaturalists was an interesting, creative steampunk tale but lacked a direct page-turner feel to it. I felt like everything could have been… more. But I did like it.

There’s a second book called The Tinker King – but I am not sure if the series is being continued beyond that.

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