Thursday, September 20, 2012

Julia Reviews The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent


Title/Author: The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
Publisher/Year Published:  August 2012 by Simon & Schuster BFYR
How I got this book: The Library
Why I read this book: You can read my whole first impressions at my View from Page 30 post
Rating: 3 stars

Summary via Goodreads
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.

Avid readers of the blog, or people who read the headers of the posts, know that I profiled this book a few weeks ago. I stopped reading at page 30ish and gave my first impressions. Were my first impressions right? Not really. My summary from that post is even off compared to the story.

I did finish it, and it wasn't too bad. Unfortunately it wasn't too brilliant either and suffered from a few problems. The thing is they were not huge problems; it was a bunch of little problems that added up and just bothered me.

First of all some praise. YAY! No love triangles *dances*!! And YAY! A standalone book!  Damn it, I checked the authors website and that is no longer true. Of course there is a sequel.

Anyway, what I liked was the story. I liked the world. I thought it was super imaginative and really neat. Unfortunately, I didn't really have a chance to experience it. You see, the plot flew by faster than a speeding bullet. I mean there was really no downtime to the action. something was always happening. And because of that I never really got to know the characters outside of when the action was taking place. So this fast plot shallowed my connection to the characters. It seemed like the plot was driving the characters instead of the other way around.

This made me a little sad because all of these characters have potential. We just didn't get enough time with them.

One thing that I think helped with this disconnection was the switching POVs. Not only did we constantly switch between Syrus and Vespa, but we switched from first person present to third person past. It really bothered me and jarred me out of the story on more than one occasion.

I guess the good thing about the second book is that Ms Trent may have more time to develop this really cool world to get us to better understand it and also the characters within.

The other thing I really did like was the subtle nod to the Chinese culture. I'd love to see that expanded in future books, since they are going to exist. But overall, if you like steampunk and/or need a break from the normal YA fare, I would recommend you read this. But go into it with a grain of salt.

13 comments :

  1. I want to read this book, I am hoping that the first is just a set up for the second which will really shine. The plot sounds so interesting. I am hoping to still get to this book soon and see how I like it. The cover is just gorgeous! thanks for the great review.

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    1. Yeah. And you know, the one point the book has in it's favor is that I did keep reading and finish it. The story is there, it just needs a bit more character focus. Let me know what you think!

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  2. Great review, sorry that things in it annoyed you. It sounds like it might not be the best read for me either, especially since POV are changed and we don't get to know the characters.

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    1. Yeah, if you don't like the POV changes, this wouldn't be for you. It was a strange thing to get used to.

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  3. Nice review. A teen at the library where I work told me that she wasn't in love with this book, either. I didn't realize the POVs switched around, though. I am generally not a fan, but for it to go from first person present, to third person past - well, my brain wouldn't like it, and I am sure I would be drawn out of the story.

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    1. That's exactly what happened. Maybe that is another reason I felt the disconnect from the characters.

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  4. Thanks for the warning! After your 30 page post, I was definitely looking forward to this book. I might actually have to skip out on it because the jarring POV switches and I really don't jive. What a shame because the premise sounds so awesome!

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    1. I know! I was sad that this is where I went. I feel like my View from Page 30 made a lot of people excited for it. And I hope the people who were interested still give it a try if they are still even slightly interested. Everyone has different thresh holds :)

      And like I said in a different comment. I did still finish it :)

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  5. Thanks for this review! Even though it sounds like it could hit a wall, I may have to check this book out because now I'm intrigued. I love a thriller/love story and I'm reading a great one right now called “Tell Me When It Hurts” by Christine M. Whitehead. You can get check her out and get the book right off of her website, http://www.christinewhitehead.com. It's a great read! Thanks again for the post!

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    1. Totally check it out if you are interested! It was still good enough for me to finish. :)

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  6. How disappointing that The Unnaturalists turned out to be a mediocre read, especially after what seemed to be a great beginning. I still plan on picking it up, but it's good to know what to expect. Thanks for letting us know how your opinions changed.

    Pica @ Pica Reads

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    1. I hope you like it! Maybe you get a completely different perspective :)

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  7. That sucks when you really like the characters but are left wanting to know more about them. This book sounds interesting though so I may check it out. I'll just keep my expectations in check

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