Author: Tiffany Trent
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused but strangely fascinated by a book in my life. I feel like the author had a great idea for this world, but transitioning it from her head to paper wasn’t as successful as it could have been. The whole alternate history/ fantasy world/ steampunk blend was actually fairly cohesive, but overwhelming.
This is one of those books where once I finish, I just sit here trying to piece it together and understand what it was that I just read. So what it is, to my understanding so forgive me if any of this is incorrect, is that back in like the 1800’s, the big wig scientists somehow transported London to a different alternate world London? Maybe? I think they created an invention and it opened a gateway and swooshed a bunch of people through. So now, the people have a New London, where magic is outlawed and they have like the Holy Scientific Bible and Saint Tesla and run all of their machines off of myth, basically the life force of all the magical creatures that they are rounding up and killing. Yeah. It’s basically just a big mash of stuff.
Now, I actually found myself enjoying this world. But so many things were just fuzzy. I can always appreciate an author who plunges us into a story and actually believes us to be smart enough to figure things out for ourselves instead of holding our hand and walking though it all, but this book could have seriously used some of that. Like there is this dead zone called The Waste that I assume is caused by the killing of all the magical creatures, but we don’t really know why and it seems to be a sentient being but again, we don’t really know why. Or the Empress, like the evil ruler of the city, we never find anything out about her, or her mysterious daughter. Absolutely zip.
I did really like the alternating viewpoints of Vespa and Syrus. I wish we could have learned more about the Tinker society but Syrus ended up leaving that pretty quickly due to certain circumstances. I liked that Syrus was just kind of an angsty (with good reason) young boy who was independent and out to fix the world, following his beliefs. Vespa was a little bit harder to like for me. Where Syrus had a reason to be angst filled and sad, her reasoning for those emotions were the usual over dramatic girl blah blah over some guy and the mistakes she made and yawn…. No thanks. Actually one of the characters I ended up liking the best was the Minotaur. Who was in the book just a few small times. So I’m not sure where that came from but I enjoyed her for the few encounters we got with her.
This book does end up getting extra brownie points for the reason that I honestly did enjoy it. The world was fun, the adventure was fun, the characters were all kind of fun, and I might end up reading the next book, just in hopes of learning more about this world.