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August 12, 2012

Review: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent - Juhina

The Unnaturalists
Title: The Unnaturalists
Author: Tiffany Trent
Publication date: August 14th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre(s): Young Adult (Steampunk)
Challenges: Debut
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 320
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 afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.
The Unnaturalists was not what I was expecting. The synopsis gave me a look on what is to expect and to come: adventure, a thrilling ride, and a 'web of deception and intrigue' but unfortunately what I got was a big pile of confusion. To say that The Unnaturalists was confusing is an understatement. Throughout most of the book I didn't know what was going on, who is who, what is what and what the hell they were looking for. My facial expressions while reading ranged from confusion, to shock, to realization, then back to confusion. It was an endless cycle and by the end, I just gave up. I kept on reading without really getting what was going on. There was too much going on. I really wished for some sort of guide that explained who's who and what's what because without it I failed miserably at reading. I came out of this book the same as I came, in with an addition of bewilderment and overall hopelessness on ever understanding this book. To begin with, I need to make a list of all the people and creatures in the book. If they were explained clearly along with their role in this steampunk world I would have had no problem. But the characters would suddenly pop up with no prior or post explanation and you are left trying to figure out what the hell that thing was and if it's even human.
1. Wight
2. Sphinx
3. Tinker
4. Pedant
5. Architect
6. Sylphids
7. Manticore  
... and it goes on. There is also the creeping waste that I barely understood and the role of each of the characters. I don't consider myself someone who gets easily confused while reading. I tend to like complex stories with deeper less obvious meanings but The Unnaturalists took this to another ball court. On top of not understanding the characters, the plot itself was lacking. To explain it better, the plot has a bit of EVERYTHING. Post Apocalyptic elements, steampunk elements, paranormal elements, magic, dystopian world, and so much more. When I finally grasp my head around an idea, ten other pop up that bring me back to square zero. The plot was so disconnected for me, same with the characters that I honestly kept on reading just to finish the book. The amount of details reserved for some parts of the books were over the top but other parts, such as the introduction of characters were totally ignored. I would have personally enjoyed it more if I just knew what was going on and who all these characters were. I mean, a story without characters isn't much of anything right? 
I really wanted to like The Unnaturalists and even stuck until the end, but even the end couldn't appease me in the least bit. Everything was rushed and I just was not satisfied. I personally wouldn't recommend it to anyone but feel free to pick it up yourself, you might like it. 


  1. Awww! I'm so disappointed to hear you didn't enjoy this one. I thought it sounded so good.

    I'm still really curious about it, but I'm kind of relieved I didn't get it to review now. ;) I'll have to pick it up eventually!

  2. That's too bad! I've not really read many reviews for it, but I always though that the summary sounds quite intriguing. I love complex books, too, but only if they're done well and there is at least that ONE moment where everything falls in place - and your confusion doesn't sound like something I'd like to share. Thanks a lot for your honesty!

    Fictional Distraction

  3. That is so unfortunate! But yeah, I don't think I could take books that took a bit of everything just to have it included rather than being woven into something amazing. Definitely know that I should stay away from this one.

    Great review!

  4. Oh, no. I'm sorry you didn't like this one. I had such high hopes for it but it does sound rather confusing.

  5. Ugh, I really didn't like this one either. I was completely confused and like you, just reading so I could finish the book. I'm starting to write my review for it and I don't even know where to start other than "I was completely confused". BTW, love the new blog design (I'm guessing it's not new, I just haven't seen your blog in a while :P)

    Chloe @ YA Booklover Blog

  6. I couldn't agree with you more, Juhina. It took me so long to read this book because it kept putting me to sleep! I was so confused that it made my brain tired :)

    I was determined to keep reading for that moment when everything would fall into place, but it never happened.

    The author did use a blend of mythological and supernatural beings in the book, and not the usual fare. You nailed it when you said that there were no explanations as to what these things were.