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The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
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's review
May 17, 12

Read from April 11 to May 07, 2012, read count: 1

The Unnaturalists

By Tiffany Trent

Simon & Schuster BFYR

August 14, 2012

The story flows between Vespa Nyx, an unnaturalist in the Museum of Unnatural History and Syrus Reed, a Tinker from Tinkerville. Both are coming of age in a world where anything magic is considered evil and science is the new religion. They both must work together along with sympathizers to their cause in order to save the world from destruction. The novel begins right before the main character, Vespa’s self discovery.

The Unnaturalists is an action packed young adult science fiction/fantasy that fits well into the steampunk realm because it is set in a Victorian era alternate universe where steam power is used to run the city via “myth,” a substance created in refineries throughout New London. There is a hint of romance in the novel with love interests between Vespa and Pedant Lumin and Mistress Virulen and Pedant Lumin.

There are no historical characters so to speak but the author does use actual scientists of the Victorian era that the people of New London worship as saints in their Church of Science, which fits well into the theme of magic versus science that runs throughout the novel. Another element that runs throughout the story is that peace should be sought above all else to solve one’s problems. There is an ecological undercurrent to the novel to stop using nature as a means to power man-made machines.

There are no holes in this novel and is beautifully written. Tiffany Trent’s novel is action packed throughout and each chapter has a nice bit of action holding the reader’s attention to the next chapter. There are however, nice bits of comic relief via the Sylphid, Piskel’s, crazy actions and Syrus Reed and Pedant Lumin’s comments to each other from time to time during or after a sticky situation has occurred.

The author uses first person style of writing when the action is centered around the main character, Vespa. Tiffany Trent uses adjectives that make one feel as if they are right there with the characters experiencing the action first hand. The novel’s pace and length were just right bringing closure to the main conflict of the story while setting up the anticipation for a second novel.

A very enjoyable read.
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