All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > The Unnaturalists

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
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Jan 02, 2012

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bookshelves: reviewed-by-abigail
Read in August, 2012

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, and Steampunk/magic progressed. Science and Logic are the religion of the day with references to St. Darwin and St. Bacon. All these little details unfold beautifully and naturally throughout the book without ever resorting to dreaded info dumps.

Of the two protagonists in THE UNNATURALISTS, I only ended up connecting with Vespa, the curious and ambitious daughter of The Museum of Unnatural History curator. She had a contagious excitement about the creatures she studied and a reckless streak that got her into just enough trouble to be interesting without being foolhardy. Syrus fell a bit flat for me. He was written in 3rd person and is much younger. His life as an outcast Tinker just didn’t grab me even as numerous tragedies befell him.

There is a small romance in THE UNNATURALISTS, though not between Vespa and Syrus. It didn’t quite come together for me as I never fully bought into Vespa’s attraction for this guy. She fell pretty quickly and repeatedly threw herself at him. I would have preferred it if Vespa had kept her hormones in check and let the potential relationship simmer. I didn’t end up feeling her anxiety when various obstacles sprang up between them.

Splitting chapters between two protagonists slowed things down as ultimately only one had a compelling story. The romance also failed to entice. The real saving grace is the worldbuilding. The amazing New London and even more amazing history in THE UNNATURALISTS make it a good read for Steampunk fans. No word on a sequel, but the ending certainly leaves room for a potential series.

Sexual Content:
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06/27/2016 marked as: read

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Rose VanCrayle I totally agree with you about the romance part! One of my many complaints about the romance is the part where vespa put the love charm on Bayne for Lucy, so you'd think he would actually act all mushy and crazy for Lucy, but he doesn't. In fact he keeps approaching Vespa up until the wedding being all like " Vespa, I'm miserable. I don't want to marry Lucy. Take this curse off me." Well if he's being like that, how exactly is the curse making him go through with it? In the end it turns out he was just doing so his daddy wouldn't disown him. What kind of "love interest" is that?

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