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The Tombs

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Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

448 pages, Hardcover

First published February 20, 2018

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About the author

Deborah Schaumberg

1 book44 followers
Deborah Schaumberg's debut novel -- THE TOMBS-- is a historical fantasy about aura seers. It has a hint of steampunk and an evil doctor. She grew up in New York, and now lives in Maryland with her family and two big dogs.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 101 reviews
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,625 reviews5,070 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 27, 2018
I'm not going to bother with giving this a full, in-depth review, and I apologize for that, but this book uses a tremendous re-occurrence of a slur ("g*psy", a common slur against Romani peoples) and makes no apology for it. There's even an author note in the back of the book in which the author tries to justify and make excuses for her insistence to add this book for the sake of "historical accuracy". That's not an excuse that flies with me, and when I skipped ahead and saw this justification, I DNFed the book. There are many other terms that could've been used to ensure accuracy, that wouldn't have been so potentially hurtful.

Besides the slur usage, the writing in this story felt rather poor right off the bat and the plot was not compelling in the least. I was hoping for a dark, creepy historical fiction, but I was merely bored.

Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Kathy MacMillan.
Author 29 books437 followers
December 29, 2017
Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl has been working as a welder in an ironworks factory ever since her mother was locked in the Tombs asylum and she and her father had to flee their respectable middle-class life. The skills Avery has developed in creating perfect metal connections are only appropriate, as she discovers that she has powers that let her see the connections between lives, and help heal other people’s auras. But in New York City in the throes of the Industrial Revolution, such powers are dangerous, and there are plenty of greedy men who want to use Avery’s powers for their own gain – just as they have been using her mother’s. When Avery’s burgeoning powers attract attention from the mysterious men in crow masks who drag people off to the Tombs, she has to go into hiding with her mother’s Romany friends. She hatches a desperate plan to free her mother…only to find that the greedy industrialists are getting ready to unleash an awful plan on New York City, one that threatens the lives of every worker in every plant and factory. And Avery and her friends may be the only ones who can stop it. Filled with intrigue, adventure, romance, and all the cool steampunk flourishes a reader could ask for, Schaumberg’s debut melds history and fantasy to create an absorbing world just beyond the known.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews610 followers
March 19, 2018
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

THE TOMBS captured my attention with the alluring promise of a forbidding city and a young woman struggling with unexplainable powers. I was enthusiastic to read a historical fiction novel and found the stylized cover intriguing.

Unfortunately, I had many problems with THE TOMBS and almost stopped reading at multiple points. My biggest issue is that THE TOMBS often introduces problematic elements but never examines them. For example, one of Avery's love interests is a former slave that her father rescued. They grew up together, but his character is one dimensional and exists solely to prop up and assist Avery (who is white) with his magical powers. It's also a questionable choice, in a fantasy novel, to utilize a slur for the sake of "historical accuracy."

While initially interested in Avery's powers, the book progresses slowly and the main thrust of it does not begin until after the halfway point. I kept reading, hoping that the book could redeem itself in some way but was ultimately disappointed. THE TOMBS leans heavily on problematic tropes.

Sexual Content: Kissing
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,337 reviews73 followers
January 27, 2018
This historical fantasy takes place in an alternate history New York in 1882. Avery Kohl is a young woman working in one of the many factories. She a welder in an iron works. She and her father are hiding from the Crows who took her mother and imprisoned her in the Tombs which is part prison and part mental asylum. Her father works as a clockmaker/inventor which brings in a steampunk element to the story.

Avery is sixteen and starting to have the sort of visions that led to her mother's imprisonment. She's afraid that she is going mad. She's determined to get into the Tombs to see her mother and ask her questions. After she sees the conditions under which her mother exists and attracts the attention of the mad scientist who is experimenting on her, she becomes determined to find a way to free her mother.

Meanwhile, her own paranormal ability explodes and she needs to go to the Gypsies for training in using or hiding her powers. There she finds out that a boy named Indigo that she met years ago has been taken by the Crows too. She recruits her best friend Khan - a young black man who her father rescued during the Civil War - to help her.

This story is packed with history from the problem with race relations, the problem with organizing labor unions, and the role of women. It takes place in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge which is just being built and is a marvel of its age. It takes place in the grimy and gritty factories where children can be beaten by their supervisors. It adds in magic in Avery's power as an aura seer and a mad scientist who is making a formula to make laborers docile and obedient using the blood of seers.

This is filled with action as Avery and her friends try to free her mother and elude the Crows sent by the scientist to capture her. Once captured, the conditions in the Tombs are horrible but Avery manages to make friends and design a plan to escape.

The main plot point which is freeing her mother is accomplished but there are a number of dangling threads left for a sequel. I thought the story began slowly but, once I got the rhythm, it gained momentum and became a fast paced adventure.
Profile Image for Heather (The Sassy Book Geek).
355 reviews138 followers
February 19, 2018
Originally Posted On The Sassy Book Geek

**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for approving me for this eARC in exchange for an honest review! ****

I have to say I’m a little confused about my feelings for this book, because it started out excellent and then for some reason dragged at the end and the story got really jumbled up. I think it had a lot of potential but that ending just made everything fall really flat for me.

What I Liked:

-Avery Kohl, our main character, is a fantastic protagonist. She’s very loyal, kind, and doesn’t like to stick to the 1880’s views on women and race. Avery is a welder and honestly it’s pretty badass because the work is hard, she’s looked down on for being female and in this position but toughs it out, and she does it all to help provide for herself and her father. She also watches over the other boys in her crew and is very protective of them, it’s adorable!
-The setting of this book is extremely unique as it’s set during the Second Industrial Revolution in 1880’s New York. I don’t know about you guys but that’s not exactly a setting I see very often especially in YA! From what little I know about this time period I still thought Schaumberg did an excellent job with this setting.
-I also really enjoyed the paranormal/psychic bits of the story, the powers that Avery has are interesting and some other characters possessed powers as well. However, I felt like the powers could have been explored a lot more and it would have made things a lot more interesting.
-The side characters were really great and had their own unique personalities, sometimes they just don’t get enough development but these characters had it! There were a few characters that really endeared themselves to me.
-Avery also has a pet falcon named Seraphine, it’s awesome.
-The pacing at the beginning of the book is very fast and I was pulled in right from the start, the story was intriguing and I wanted to know what was going on with Avery’s powers!
-There is some romance present in this book and I love that it didn’t take over the plot. I did like the love interests overall as well and could easily see why Avery liked them both. It was nice that no one ever had a big spat over who was going to end up with who though.
-Diversity! We have African-American characters, Romany characters, and an Italian character. Of course there were others as well and I liked that we were shown what a “melting pot” New York City is.
-I also really liked that the racism shown towards characters is challenged especially considering the time period the book is set in. Avery and her father both actively disregard the public’s views of other races and are close friends with different people of color.
-The cover is gorgeous!

What I Didn’t Like:

-Half way through the story the pacing slows down significantly and really starts to drag. I ended up skimming a bit right at the ending because I just wanted it to be over.
-The overall plot made sense from the start but as with the pacing, it just got really messy and confusing towards the end. I can’t even really tell you what the heck was happening by the end! The beginning was strong but the end not so much.
-The main antagonist was incredibly cheesy, we are talking classic mustache twirling villain. I had a hard time taking him seriously at all let alone as a threat. And his “grand scheme” was laughably terrible.
-There’s a love triangle and while I liked both love interests, what was the point? Especially the second love interest! He came out of nowhere I felt like!
-As I already kind of mentioned, I wish everyone’s “powers” were explained and explored a lot more. For such an important part of the story I felt it was barely present.

Normally I’d say if the “liked” bits outweigh the “not liked” bits then I enjoyed the book but here it’s just not the case. I enjoyed myself at the beginning of the book but by the end I was so bored and confused that I just can’t give this book a better rating. It was too much of a mess by the end.
Profile Image for Raven_Blake (dreamy addictions).
753 reviews225 followers
March 10, 2018
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars!
Same Review Also Posted On My Blog: Dreamy Addictions

I have mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed it but I didn't love it. The concept of this book was amazing and the world building was a total perfection, but sadly I couldn't connect with the characters and the pacing seemed slow to me and it literally dragged in the middle. I'm really not fan of slow reads but if you can handle them then you might enjoy it more than I did. I liked the characters, but the romance was totally meh. I love triangles in my YA but this one was awful. Don't worry, you can still enjoy this book because it wasn't the central focus of the story. Anyways, For a debut, it was a good start and I hope the next book is much more improved and better.

The story is set in the 18th Century New York, Brooklyn where dangerous gangs roamed around the city and young kids worked in the iron work factory to survive. In this dark forbidden city, Sixteen Year old Avery Kohl lives with her inventor father. She used to live a normal easy life dreaming about going to a collage and marrying a wealthy husband but all of her dreams were collapsed when her mother was taken by the mysterious crow masks who works at the Tombs Asylum, a place for deranged people like her mother who could see something others couldn't. Now she's living at Slums and working hard to get back to her old life. When the same symptoms begins to show on Avery, she fears that she'll face the same fate as her mother. So, she hides from the Crow Masks and struggles to spend her days by working at the Ironworks Factory, hearing the adventurous tales of her best friend Khan who's an ex-slave, and caring for her pet falcon Seraphine. When  Avery's power starts to become uncontrollable, she makes an explosion at the factory which creates a huge trouble for her. She believes that she finally needs answers that only her mother can give but she's in the Tombs. Her father has restricted her to meet her because it was dangerous to her because if she get caught by them then she would get locked up like her mother and face the horrors of the tombs forever. Against her father's wishes, Avery decides to meet her mother even though it was risky and when she sees the state of her mother, she feels bad that she couldn't do anything. When she learns about the strange experiments done on the patients, Avery is determined to get her mother out of there with the help of her mother's people from the gypsy camp.

The characters were good but I can't seem to connect with any of them. Avery is strong yet Vulnerable. She's pretty likable character who's good hearted, compassionate, selfless, and very protective. I really liked her relationship with her fellow factory workers who're younger than her. It's pretty sad seeing boys that young working at an iron factory facing all the abuse. The side characters were intriguing but they weren't fleshed out well enough. I really wanted to know more about Khan and Indigo. The romance was totally meh. Khan and Avery were best friends since young and their relationship is beginning to turn into something more but suddenly comes another guy and bam, she loves him. Even though I like the other guy, I wish it wasn't so abrupt because it felt quite unrealistic and nonsensical. Anyway, I really liked the boys Geeno, Leo(12), Tony(14), and Oscar(12) but my favorite was Geeno. He's pretty adorable and a very smart kid. Dr. Spector is a creepy and mysterious villain. He's only a human but he's totally giving off the vampire vibes.

The plot was interesting but It didn't excite me enough to love it. The pacing a bit frustrated me because It really moved a bit slower than expected and I wanted more action. It's a historical fantasy and the author did a great job in executing the historical and steampunk part but when it came to the fantasy part everything seemed okay-ish but not well detailed. However, I liked the Idea behind this concept and I really enjoyed the Steampunk elements in this book and I had already figured out what's Avery's father is building in his secret basement. The writing was good and easy to understand. The story was told in Avery's first person POV. The world building was amazing and felt authentic, I would give it an A+. I think it's the major highlight of this book. The author described everything in detail and gave a clear image. 

Overall, I liked it but I didn't love it! Even though It didn't blow my mind away, I still want to continue this series and hope the next book is much more improved and more action packed.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews103 followers
February 20, 2018
Deborah Schaumberg's The Tombs first landed on my radar because of its stunning cover. Then I read the synopsis and a decision was made: I needed it and pronto! As it turns out, The Tombs is a magical and rich debut. It's hard not to become completely enthralled by Avery's journey as well as rooting for her every step of the way.

There's many things Deborah does well here; however, one of the best is the descriptions. It was so incredibly easy to be transported to New York City, 1882. I could picture Avery's world perfectly - the factory, her apartment, the tombs, etc. The tombs actually offered one of my favorite settings: a greenhouse where Avery discovers more answers to her problems! The greenhouse was so cool. I wish it was real so I could go and visit it.

Additionally, Deborah did a fantastic job of fleshing out the story lines. I'll admit this isn't the most fast paced book ever. Deborah takes her time building up the world as well as Avery's past and current struggles; however, I was never once bothered by the speed. I eagerly ate up the descriptions, and I loved getting to know Avery better. More importantly, when things did speed up, I felt prepared. I knew what was going on - and had some very big questions!-and I couldn't wait to see Avery kick butt!

Avery, the main character here, was likable and easy to root for. When the book first begins, Avery has grown use to blending into the background. It's easier for both her father and her that way; however, while Avery may be quiet, she's no pushover by any means. She's strong and powerful, more so than she even thinks. The scenes were she helped her fellow factory workers pulled at my heartstrings. Avery would risk anything for their safety, and that made her even more lovable in my opinion. Additionally, over the course of the book Avery's experiences a coming-of-age. She wants to get to the bottom of her mother's illness, Avery wants to know if she's like her. This brings about many struggles: between Avery and her father, between Avery and her best friend/trusted companion, and even between Avery and herself. It was interesting to see her face this struggle - should she leave it all alone or challenge everything - and I was very happy with the end result.

Now for the one thing that dropped The Tombs down a star: the romance. There's two potential love interests - Avery's best friend & the boy Avery shared a kiss with years ago. Normally, love triangles don't bother me, but I just didn't like it here. I thought Avery's best friend was the better choice; however, she constantly felt drawn to this boy she knew almost nothing about (cue insta-love). It just didn't work for me - I wanted more for Avery, I wanted more for her best friend.

Regardless, The Tombs is a wonderful debut, perfect for YA readers who love their historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and magic. I can't wait to see where Deborah goes next. I'm personally hoping for a sequel!

*ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

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Profile Image for Kara.
539 reviews168 followers
January 24, 2018
I know my status updates don't seem like I enjoyed this book, but I really, really did. It was special. The Tombs is definitely one of the creepiest books I have read in a long time, and the main antagonist was horrifying. The characters were amazing, as was the atmosphere, and I thought all the issues I had were handled delicately. There was even an author note at the back about the usage of the G word.

However, I have thoughts about that. I need to marinate on them more and I will share my full review soon.

I do definitely recommend this though. This author is a talent to watch.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,651 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 21, 2018
Though I'm DNFing after eight chapters, I do think there's a lot of promise in this debut. Nothing quite worked for me personally, but everything has a lot of potential. I feel like I'll probably really like Schaumberg's next book but it's not quite there yet for me. I like what I've read fairly well, but I'm not invested in the story. Worth a try if you're into horror and paranormal historical novels.
Profile Image for L.V. Pires.
Author 13 books35 followers
March 17, 2018
There was so much to love about Deborah Schaumberg's debut novel, THE TOMBS. First off, the setting for this novel is New York City in 1882, which peaked my interest and made me want to move this novel to the top of my reading list. Then, I found out there was a secretive asylum with all sorts of mysterious testing going on as well as elements of fantasy and the supernatural, so I dropped everything and started reading.

Schaumberg's seamless prose was probably my favorite part of this novel. The way she blends sensory details makes the story come alive. One example is, "The monstrous bonfire, visible for miles, infused the air with the smoky scent of applewood and laurel. Every breeze held the promise of buttered popcorn, wispy sweet spun sugar, or cinnamon dough." I went back and reread several passages where she does this well and there are too many to count.

Another important aspect of her work is her research into this time period. THE TOMBS reveals what life might have been like for those who were less fortunate. Detailed explanations of the grittier parts of the city as well as the challenges many poor women and children had to face at that time are good examples of how the author brought history to the fictional aspects of this story.

There's no doubt this author worked hard on her novel and the effort has paid off. I look forward to reading her future work!
January 18, 2018
I loved this book! The setting and time period were beautifully interlaced with the plot, the characters are to die for, and the mystical feeling is outstanding. A wonderful read for anyone who loves fantasy and/or history. I read an ARC of the book and I can't wait to see it out on the shelves!
An absolutely amazing and magical story :)
Profile Image for Vanessa.
432 reviews45 followers
June 11, 2018
Teenage Avery’s life changed the day her mother was committed to the Tombs, a ‘hospital’ for the insane. In an effort to hide their disgrace–and out of necessity as their middle-class standing is ruined–Avery and her father change their names and move to a less desirable part of town, where her father opens a clockwork shop and she begins working as a welder at a local factory. It’s not the life she lived before, where she went to school, wore nice clothes, and was friends with girls her age–and when her father didn’t drink himself into a stupor every night. But not everything is bleak. She has her peregrine “Seraphine”, best friend Khan, and welding work that she realizes she has a knack for.

Everything changes again when new abilities begin to manifest and she realizes that her mother was hospitalized for being crazy when in reality she has empathic powers.

Avery’s abilities and her mother’s abilities are similar, but aren’t completely the same. Avery discovers that she can see others’ auras in shades of white, grey, and black, and they’re influenced by a person’s good and evil natures and experiences. When she uses her abilities on someone, it strengthens their better natures and they’re given the strength to make the right choice.

Unfortunately, there are people with auras so black that her ability won’t work on them, and in particular, Dr. Spector, the man who runs the Tombs, is such a person. After witnessing Dr. Spector testing a street boy for abilities and whisking him off to the Tombs, Avery’s suspicion is aroused and she begins to put together the pieces of the real reason the Tombs exist and what Dr. Spector is doing with her mother and other people with abilities.

Unfortunately Avery makes some dumb mistakes (pfft teenagers), like visiting her mother in the Tombs despite her father’s warnings not to. And in effect she puts herself on Spector’s radar, which considering the resources the man has, it’s only a matter of time until he finds her. She escapes with the help of friend Khan, a former slave her father brought home on his return at the end of the Civil War. But now Khan is a man with his own mysterious activities around the city.

The story continues to unravel itself, with visits to gypsies, who become an important part of the story, a new understanding of her and her mother’s abilities, and the real reason why Dr. Spector is imprisoning anyone with supernatural abilities. The story takes time to unravel, though, and at 430 pages seemed a little long to me; but actually it was less about the pacing and more about the problems I had with the too formal prose and adequate dialogue. I spent too much time getting caught up in the inconsistent use of contractions, look-at-me adjectives, and lack of personality dialogue that seemed the same no matter who spoke (other than the gimmicky crazy chemist in the Tombs). I wanted to like this story more than I did, and in some ways it was clever and interesting, but in others I had a hard time believing contrived plot points and character choices. And the romantic elements were, I dunno, ok and then it got sappy; typical teenager fare, really.

THE TOMBS is set in post Civil War New York, and we get a little bit of the feel of the place and time, although it’s a little different with a few steampunk elements thrown in. The story itself takes center stage here, so plot elements move the story forward and there’s less time for real in-depth worldbuilding. I would have liked a better handle on Avery’s abilities, I wasn’t 100% clear how or why they worked, as well as the difference in abilities of the people around her. Why does she and her mother have this ability? Why do some of the gypsies have these abilities? Are they from the same place or are they different? Why do they exist? Same goes for Dr. Spector and his methods, which I can’t ask questions here or else spoilers.

Avery is our main character and the entire story is told from her point of view, which worked great for this story as it provided nice continuity, although it limited our knowledge of other interesting characters like Khan, Geeno, Indigo, Avery’s father, her mother, and others. I personally didn’t find Avery particularly relatable. She was a stereotypical heroine character type in a lot of ways (didn’t like wearing dresses, didn’t realize how pretty she was, tended toward more action than thinking things through), although the author did her best to give Avery a few differences from the usual heroine. She did things I thought were colossally dumb that I would never do. I had a hard time not finding certain plot points contrived, they needed better foreshadowing/buildup/explanation or something because this happened multiple times, and was frustrating because the story revolves around these incredulous events. Maybe I’m just the wrong audience for this.

If you love drama (think WUTHERING HEIGHTS) and some of the unexpected in your teenage romantic, paranormal, steampunky stories, this is the one for you.

Recommended Age: 13+
Language: Minor
Violence: Some ungruesome on-screen death and torture, but could be unpleasant for your sensitive teens
Sex: Teen kissing and references to affairs

***Find this and other reviews at ElitistBookReviews.com***
Profile Image for Danielle Hammelef.
986 reviews124 followers
June 20, 2018
The cover of this book and premise made this a must read for me. I enjoyed Avery and found her very kind, loving, loyal, as well as a risk taker and hard worker, all of which I admire. I loved the rich writing and felt the world was real.

However, the book pace was too slow and not much happened over too many pages. I also felt the secondary characters were not well developed. I also didn't like the love triangle or understand Avery's attraction to Indigo, although maybe in the sequel (it's set up to have one) the author will flesh out the attraction. I did feel bad for Khan, however, as he is definitely book boyfriend material and the author did a great job assigning Khan attributes.

So overall, I liked this book and recommend it to readers who like great world building, creepy villains, and mysteries.
Profile Image for John Clark.
2,215 reviews22 followers
August 18, 2018
A different twist on the dystopian theme, one taking place following a civil war not unlike ours. Avery has a power that terrifies her at first because it's similar to the one that got her mother hauled off to the asylum underneath the Tombs in New York City. It's been years since Avery has seen Mom and her father, wounded in the war (he lost a leg and fashioned his own prosthesis) and bereft by the loss of his wife, spends much of his time drinking. When somewhat sober, he tinkers with inventions, many of which serve as replacement parts for fellow wounded veterans. Avery works in a foundry as a welder to bring in enough money to keep them afloat.
When her powers erupt at work, it's the catalyst for several things. Her father getting better, a quest to find and free her mother and an alliance with a mysterious gypsy boy who knows more than he's willing to disclose. Filled with twists, intrigue, secrets and plenty of action, this is a dandy story for teens. While not steampunk, it has a bit of that flavor, further enhancing the attraction factor.
Profile Image for Alyx Barter.
9 reviews
December 29, 2022
The constant romanticization and usage of the G*psy slur was a huge turn off, especially since the author acknowledges that it's a slur and chose to be "historically accurate". It would have been SO easy to use Avery, already noted by herself and other characters within the world for bucking societal norms, to be like "hey that's bad" and call them Romani, though I did think their inclusion was out of place, as though they were there to provide mystic advice for the strangely out of place magic.

Also, the brief mention of "Jewish criminals" gave me bad vibes.

This could have been a solid 4 star read- the plot was interesting, I did like the powers and the villains, and the world building was fun, but a lot of the author's choices in regards to representation were, frankly, awful.
Profile Image for Kassie.
400 reviews473 followers
March 3, 2018
*thank you HarperTeen for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for review!*

This book was really very okay.

The plot is so intriguing, curious, and did leave you wanting to turn the page, but I kept finding myself rolling my eyes at dialogue or squinting at the small moments.

I felt like the writing fit more of a younger audience than i was expecting considering the dark plot, and it just wasn’t for me.

Like I said. It was okay. There were things I enjoyed and things I didn’t, bringing it to a 3/5 for me. I’ll be posting a vlog review soon of my experience while reading!
Profile Image for Katie Thomas.
68 reviews
October 14, 2018
This book is wonderful. The characters are loveable and it was really well written. It would have been one if my favorites IF there is a second book coming out. The ending, if not having another book, ruins that. It's not that it's a terrible written ending, it's that it leaves you with so much questions. It feels incomplete. If she were to continue and make another book then it'll definitely be a 5 star and a favorite of mine.
Profile Image for Tinsley Allen.
3 reviews
August 5, 2018
I loved this book and everything about it. I read it 2 times because I loved it so much. I am so hoping for a second one. Every detail made me feel like I was right there living through it all with Avery. I loved this book so much I am truly having a hard time describing how much I loved it
Profile Image for Andria Sedig.
383 reviews4 followers
February 26, 2018
Three years ago, Avery's mother was taken and placed in an asylum for being insane; she saw visions, something unusual in new York. Now, Avery fears that she will also be locked away in the Tombs because she is starting to see things as well. When her unusual gift causes an explosion at her place of work and places her and her father in danger, Avery knows that she will have to figure out the truth behind her gift - and possibly learn to control and accept it as well. But this will not be easy. The Crows are on the prowl, seeking to hunt her out and lock her away with her mother and will stop at nothing to find her. But the Tombs are not what they seem and the experiments being performed on the patients take on a sinister light when new discoveries are made about the purpose behind them.


This book was such an unexpectedly fun read. The plot was well paced and there was never a dull or boring moment. Each scene felt necessary and purposeful, which I appreciated in a book that was 400+ pages. I was definitely hooked by the writing and the storyline and definitely wanted to learn more about Avery's powers and the details surrounding her mother's imprisonment. The villains felt realistic and believable, and this book easily set a strong opening for what I presume is going to be a great series! I loved the diversity of the characters in this novel as well. While the steampunk aspect of this book wasn't hugely prominent, it did add a unique twist to some of the events of the book and a layer of complexity to the genre and style of the book. Highly recommend picking this one up if you're looking for something a little different in your next YA read.
Profile Image for Imré Welnicki.
50 reviews1 follower
March 4, 2018
This book was FANTASTIC! I absolutely love historical fiction and this had everything I love about it plus action. I do enjoy some of the darker sides of history, and this gave me exactly the right amount. It may seem a little macabre, but it's just enough to give an idea of how badly the working class and supposed "insane" or "mentally disturbed" people were treated.
I appreciate Avery's determination and perseverance throughout the book, even when she thought she would give up she thought of something or someone to keep her going. She's a very strong character that really made this book as fantastic as it is.
Being the great read that it is, I'm not convinced it's over. The ending is a huge hole that needs to be filled with a proper conclusion for those left behind and if there will ever be a true happy ending (or as close to one as these characters will get considering how depressing they can be).
Profile Image for Samantha Glass.
824 reviews6 followers
March 7, 2018
A very good first book from a new to me author. I enjoyed the steampunk and paranormal aspects and am interested to see if a follow-up book is in the works. Well written, vivid prose.
Profile Image for Elisquared.
419 reviews85 followers
February 20, 2018
The reader finds themselves in a haunting, dark, gritty New York City, one that holds powerful secrets and powerful men -- all of which work toward trying to harness the abilities of "witches", the people who are branded as such and then locked away in The Tombs, a horrible asylum/prison where unspeakable experiments are being performed.

Avery's mother is taken to The Tombs for being able to "see" the unseen, and Avery ignores all signs of this same ability in her, fearful she will also be locked away. But as Avery's powers grow, she can no longer deny she has these abilities and must decide: does she fight to rescue her mother or hide away forever?

Such a great book! It mixes historical New York City with fantastical elements; it definitely feels like Gangs of New York, but I'd say meets Libba Bray (not Cassandra Clare). There are strong female relationships (Avery never feels "superior" to her girlier friend, just because she does more manual labor and acts within a more traditionally male role), an amazing and loving mother/daughter bond (this is what really drives all of Avery's actions), two potential love interests (I do love a good love triangle), and scary as heck villains (those crow masks are just like plague doctors and give me a super creep vibe)!

Amazing debut novel, and it sets the reader up to expect more books to come! A must-read if you love darker fantasy mixed with historical fiction, The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg is out in stores now! Make sure to order a copy today!!
Profile Image for Gmr.
1,189 reviews
February 16, 2018
I was curious about the title, intrigued by the cover, and once I began, I just couldn't stop. That's how mesmerizing I found the story to be.

We're in the early 1800's, Brooklyn, New York, and seeing the world through the gritty, muddied streets of the average Joe/Jane...or rather the ones that once were higher up, knocked down by circumstance and odd occurrences. Young Avery is a girl in a boy's world, just trying to help her father, the only family she has left, as they claw and crawl each day into something resembling a life. Meanwhile, a man claiming to be a doctor tempts homeless urchins with coin and a promise, snatching the ones he wants while leaving the rest to wonder what happened. Perhaps more disturbing than the events I just mentioned is that Avery recognizes him.

By books end, I was gobsmacked. So much happens in a relatively short span of time. We learn what became of Avery's mother, why her father vehemently warns her against visiting the gypsies, the identity and fate of the blue-eyed breath stealing boy from the festival night, the function of Avery's "condition" and the lengths to which some will go to obtain control over all. Some of it's pretty heady stuff, while others you simply feel in your heart and your gut. There's mystery, a little romance, friendship, manipulation, sadistic pursuits of power, freedom, confinement, terror, and above all, the resilience of the human heart to see the error of its ways even when things seem so far gone...well, of MOST to see anyway.

All I can say is this...in my opinion, I LOVED it; whether you do or not is entirely up to you. Take a chance, approach with an open mind, and give yourself over to the history tinted but fantastically altered reality you'll certainly wish most aspects of will stay firmly in fiction.

**eARC received for review
Profile Image for Beth.
616 reviews24 followers
March 13, 2018
Avery lives in a tenement and works with the other undesirable kids as a welder. Her mother is gone, taken away to The Tombs as a mental patient years earlier, and her father has struggled ever since. While he used to make amazing clocks, he no longer does that, preferring to tinker on other things instead. When Avery starts to believe she may have the same mental issues as her mother, and defies her father to learn more, they find themselves making a great enemy—one that will stop at nothing to see Avery in The Tombs alongside her mother.

The setting is New York, late 1800s. It’s after the Civil War, though I always felt that this particular New York had more than a bit of a steampunk feeling to it—particularly when discussing the balloons used to transport troops, etc. However, this is more hinted at than actually thrown in the reader’s face, so it could easily have gone either way. If you’re not a fan of steampunk, don’t let that put you off here; it really is very subtle...(For more, click through to http://vampirebookclub.net/review-the... )
Profile Image for Amy Braun.
Author 37 books346 followers
February 25, 2018
Having just finished this book, all I can say is: I want the sequel! Please, please, please let there be another book because I'll go crazy if it just ends like that! Right from the start, I was hooked by the concept and the characters. It was a beautifully told story with layered individuals and a strong lead character in Avery. Not to mention there was a series creep factor regarding the Tombs itself. The story was interesting and engaging, and there were genuinely sweet moments that pulled at my heartstrings. I could barely stop reading for any reason! That's not to say there aren't a couple flaws. A love triangle spawned out of nowhere and I'm not sure I buy into it, the pacing was a little wonky at times, and again, I need more stories because of that ending. But all those nitpicks don't take away from what I think is a solid debut and a truly unique YA fantasy. I definitely want to return to it and hope I get to soon!
Profile Image for Carrie.
24 reviews
July 27, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this book more than I expected I would. This was my first historical YA fiction novel and I am definitely interested in reading more after this.
Profile Image for Robert.
667 reviews9 followers
March 2, 2018
Excellent teen appropriate steampunky historical thriller. Danger and threats increase steadily in scenes around 1890s New York City. The denouement reads perfectly and really screams to be filmed.
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