The Unnaturalists

Tiffany Trent, Author
Tiffany Trent. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2206-3
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 08/14/2012
In this exciting steampunk adventure, Trent (the Hallowmere series) introduces readers to New London, where science reigns supreme. Its inhabitants swear by Saints Darwin and Newton, witchcraft is a dire crime, and mythological creatures like sphinxes and manticores (dubbed Unnaturals) are good only for scientific study. Sixteen-year-old Vespa Nyx wants to be an Unnaturalist in her father’s museum, but he’d rather marry her off. Syrus Reed is a 13-year-old Tinker, whose family has just been stolen to serve as slaves in the city refinery. His only hope to save them—and, by extension, the city itself—lies in finding a witch. One like Vespa, whose powers have just manifested. Trent shifts between Vespa’s first-person narration and third-person chapters about Syrus as they work together, uncovering New London’s darkest secrets, ready to destroy the city in order to preserve it. Science, magic, myth, and alternate history all work together to create an intriguing alternate world with more depth than many books in the genre. This is a world worth visiting. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Aug.)