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The Unnaturalists

(The Unnaturalists #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,936 ratings  ·  351 reviews
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
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,936 ratings  ·  351 reviews

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Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
3.5 Stars to 4 Stars

Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’ve never thought I’d use the words thoroughly confusing and totally engrossing to describe the same book, but it’s been a long time since I’ve come across anything as peculiar as The Unnaturalists. This is a hard book to categorize, a little bit of steampunk, a little bit of alternate history, a little bit of paranormal - actually, I’m not quite sure what this is but what I am sure of is that Tiffany Trent has done some of the most imaginative world building I’ve ever read.

The appeal for me, whi
Jenn Estepp
2 1/2, but I feel generous, so we bump up. That said, I feel really conflicted about this book. I wanted to like it so much more than I actually did. There's a lot that is theoretically very good here, but I feel like the execution is off. Someone else used the word "muddled" to describe it, and I think that's spot-on. I feel like Trent did a whole heck of a lot, in terms of coming up with the alternate world she gives us here, but sometimes forgot that we readers don't live in her head and as s ...more
I have mixed feelings about this one.

Interesting worldbuilding - a sort of a mix of alternate universe and alternative history, set in the future, feels steampunkish but is really quite considerably different in nature - but .... then there was the requisite mooning over a pretty young man, and the plot was kind of meandering around and only really got somewhere towards the end (or rather that's when I realised that there is a plot at all), and I never really properly warmed to Vespa, and ... e
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
I TRIED, DEAR READER. I gave it 100 pages, but the characters and writing never hooked me. Considering I was deeply involved emotionally in the book I read just before The Unnaturalists, I'm 99% sure the problem isn't me being in a slump. *shrugs*
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Imagine living in a world unlike any other. In this world, magic and those who know how to wield it are automatically evil and knowledge of science is essential to living. In New London, science is everything.

THE UNNATURALISTS is a truly refreshing read. Full of steampunk elements, this fantasy and science fiction novel set in an alternate historical London will capture your attention from the very first page. Everything in this world is powered by myth.While there's only a myth to d
Dark Faerie Tales
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick and Dirty: Two teens fight to save the world from destruction.

Opening Sentence: The sphinx stared at me from her plinth.

The Review:

Vespa doesn’t want to conform to the usual role of a lady. Syrus has a power that has to be kept secret. Both want to change the current world they live in. Together their fates are cleverly intertwined. The story is told from both Vespa and Syrus’s points of views. For those looking for romance, Th
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
3 or 3.5 stars

I'm honestly torn by what I want to rate this book because, on one hand, the story is completely engrossing, but on the other hand, I don't know the last time I've been so confused by what was going on in a story. The author definitely put together a very interesting world but there was so much going on that I had trouble keeping track. I think we were in the past, but it also felt very futuristic. And so much paranormal. There was a witch, the Architects (who also have
The Unnaturalists is a brilliant book in terms of creative world building, well paced plot, intriguing story line and beautiful mythical creatures set in an alternate Victorian era with a mixture of steampunk and fantasy. However even with such strong premise it didn't make it into my list of favorites due to reasons I'll discuss shortly.

We are introduced to a strange New London in this book that is full of mythical creatures known as Unnaturals, Pedants responsible for caging and studying these creatures,
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
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 t ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
I was really sick after I finished this book, like confined to the bed for five days sick, and for some odd reason, in the delirium brought on by multiple Tylenol 3s, I could not stop thinking about this book. Deconstructing it in my head, analyzing the plot twists and the narrative elements. It almost drove me crazy.

So it was inevitable that I would write a review of this. The cover and the promise of steampunk pretty much guaranteed that I would give this one a try. The novel howev
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

The worldbuilding in THE UNNATURALISTS is top notch. Fantastical creatures, mysterious magic, deadly consequences for those who misuse it, and an origin story that is so good it deserves it’s own book. An entire society sprang up after Tesla–yes the Tesla–broke through to another world and took half of London with him. There is no way back, so New London has progressed from this point in several alternate ways from ours. The Victorian era never ended,
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Other people reviewing this book have used the word "muddled," which really works for me too. The book alternates chapters in third person concentrating on Cyrus with first person present-tense chapters from Vespa's POV. Cyrus is often in mortal danger as he tries to rescue his kidnapped people, while Vespa is concerned with smaller, pettier things. The cover leads you to expect steampunk with its science fiction bent--as does the characters' intriguing religion of Science and Rationality, with ...more
Oct 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book. Everything felt... flat. The characters were two-dimensional and there were no characteristics or things noticed that weren't relevant to the predictable plot. So many emotionally traumatic things happen and are brushed over when the author could have fairly easily turned it into a compelling story of people dealing with unimaginable losses. That's a good summary of my feelings for this book - it's too unemotional. I generally feel that it shouldn't have been categorize ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I gobbled it up in just a few days. It's a very fluent and captivating read. You jump right into the story without introductions and as you go on you step-by-step figure out how this world works.. The worldbuilding is interesting and different.
Tyrannosaurus regina
A mixed bag, really, but overall enjoyable. There were some questionable worldbuilding choices and stereotypes abound, but it was also a unique take on the genre. The moments of horror were really the standouts for me, superbly chilling.
Emma (Miss Print)
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is fun but suffers from vapid steampunk syndrome. I liked parts and the world was fun but not enough to stick around for book two.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Vespa Nyx is joking around with a stuffy patron when the paralytic field suspending a sphinx in New London’s Museum of Unnatural History is suddenly disabled. She later claims to her father, the head of the museum, that she was pushed from behind. This time the field was much stronger than the one she took down at Miss Marmalade’s Seminary for Young Ladies of Quality that led to her expulsion a year earlier. Working for her father at the Museum ever since, Vespa prefers the life of a Scientist. ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
This is going to be a difficult book to review. I found this book wonderfully strange, endearing, but it was also a pain in the real ass at the same time. First with the negatives:

This novel is written in dual perspectives: Vespa in first-person present tense and Syrus in third-person past. As I was reading the novel, I really didn't see a good reason for the author to shift the writing style the way she did and as a result, it made reading the book a lot more jarring and challenging
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Check out this review and more at.... The Best Books Ever

This is my second time around with this story. I am a big re-reader, especially when the next book in a series is coming out and I need the refresher. But mostly, just because I like to! Sometimes I like a book more, sometimes not so much, but this time I enjoyed it even more.
This is definitely a Steampunk story, which I love. I have read several books that claim to be Steampunk, but aren't.... not really. That is always disap
YA Reads Book Reviews
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nichole
Originally posted on, Reviewed by Nichole

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 a
Aug 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
This story had so many things going for it, but the characterizations and plotting were terrible. Vespa Nyx is an Unnaturalist and seeks to investigate magical animals with her father who is the director of the museum that houses these creatures. Magic is a taboo subject and supposedly magic-work is frowned upon. Yet the Empress of this town, New London, has mysterious refineries that produce myth which powers all sorts of magical-type things. It seemed really backward to me that magical creatures w ...more
J.A. Ironside
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I'm utterly in love with the world in this book. Trent has combined the zeal of the Victorian naturalists with the mythology of the ages to create something fresh and utterly absorbing. I love how religion is turned on its head in an approximation of Victorian London, interrupted in its scientific development. Instead of an industrial revolution - the misplaced part of London, now New London, - has followed it's own logic and is powered by the scientific application of materials found and refine ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jamie Poorman

APA Citation: Trent, T. (2012). The Unnaturalists. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster.

Genre: Science-fiction (steampunk)

Format: Hardcover, 305 pages.

Awards: Green Earth Book Award

Selection Process: Booklist review, School Library Journal Review

Vespa Nyx is a witch. In the scientific world of New London where individuals like Darwin and Tesla are revered, worshiped even, th
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my reviews here and on the Akamai Reader!

The Unnaturalists is a steampunk novel contains so much more then magical creatures. With the Unnaturals there are wielders of magic, like a witch and Architects as they’re called. They added an extra dose of excitement to the story. There was also one particularly violent scene. It took me by surprise because I didn’t expect to find it it in a young adult book, but maybe I’m being over-sensitive.

I liked Vespa for the most part. She had
I used to read but now I don't It's bad I know
For everything bad thing about this book, there's something good.

The first half was bad; the second half good. Which makes a decision difficult.

The language is often quite sophisticated, using precise terms (especially in architecture) to convey surroundings. On the other hand, there's a giant crapload of metaphors and similes in the first half of the novel. For example, "anger flared like white-hot lightning". EXCUSE ME. All lightning is white-hot. The first half of the book quite
Melissa Frye
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Being relatively new to Steampunk, I’m not sure what elements I should look for when choosing books. That is to say I don’t know for sure what I like and dislike about the genre. The ratings and reviews for Tiffany Trent’s The Unnaturalists were vastly varied. That intrigued me enough to give it a try.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads:
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 tha
Oct 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Angie by: Melody
Shelves: teen, fantasy, magic, steampunk
The Unnaturalists is an unusual book. It is a mix of fantasy, magic, history and steampunk. It is set in New London where 600 years ago the people where sucked through a portal into this new world. Along with the people, buildings from various periods of time were also sucked through. The world they landed in had many creatures who the people called unnaturals. They hunt the unnaturals and use them to fuel their world.

Vespa Nyx is the daughter of the head of the Museum in New London. She wants
Kathy Martin
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story takes place in an alternate London that was somehow swept into another world complete with and run by elementals and other magical creatures.

The main characters are these: Vespa Nyx who is the daughter of a man who runs a museum filled with these magical creatures. Vespa is content with her life cataloging the unnatural creatures and creating displays;Syrus Reed who is a Tinker whose family lives on the edge of society and take care of the magical creatures who live in the woods. He
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Tiffany Trent is the award-winning creator and author of the young adult dark fantasy series, HALLOWMERE, and THE UNNATURALISTS and THE TINKER KING. Her short stories have been published in MAGIC AND THE MIRRORSTONE, CORSETS AND CLOCKWORK, SUBTERRANEAN, and WILFUL IMPROPRIETY. When not writing or reading, she can be found playing with bees.

-Green Earth Book Award Honor 2013 ...more

Other books in the series

The Unnaturalists (2 books)
  • The Tinker King (The Unnaturalists, #2)