Chandra Rooney's Reviews > The Unnaturalists

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-in-2012

I fell in love with the world of Tiffany Trent's The Unnaturalists upon reading her short story in Corsets & Clockwork and begged Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC of this novel.

The Unnaturalists is a wonderful book mixing steampunk and fantasy, so you have science and magic battling it out in world familiar and not. I loved the way this world was so seamlessly crafted and populated with the wonderful characters of Vespa, Hal and Syrus.

Chapters alternate between the first person viewpoint of Vespa, a young lady who longs to be a Pendant and would much rather spend her time in the Museum of Unnatural History, and the third person viewpoint of Syrus, a young Tinker. It did take about four chapters for me to become used to the switching viewpoints, but once established the alternation serves to maintain the story pace and deliver information in a satisfying way.

I enjoyed how the stories of Vespa and Syrus intertwined as the novel progressed. Trent's prose is solid, and I expect any errors I encountered were due to it being an ARC.

If you enjoyed the Princess Mononoke movie, this has a similar tone to it. There are obvious environmental themes and exploration of how humans interact with the natural and magical world.

Also, much respect to Trent for writing a first book in a series that has a complete story. There are matters left to resolve in future books, but this book tells the tale it sets out to tell. The plot is well executed in that I was not surprised by what happened but pleased by how it came together. However, I tend to reach conclusions sooner than most readers so others may be surprised by some of the twists.

I will definitely read the second novel, and I would recommend The Unnaturalists to anyone looking for a good Victorian/steampunk book with strong fantasy elements, a little horror, a little romance, and a lot of adventure.

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Reading Progress

April 30, 2012 – Shelved
May 6, 2012 – Started Reading
May 21, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 10, 2014 – Shelved as: read-in-2012

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