Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Unnaturalist (review)

3/5 stars

Some books don't seem to know their priorities.  There's an interesting world, potential death looming, but they linger lazily in subplots and potential romances.  That is the case with The Unnaturalists.  It's not that it's a bad book, exactly, but it's a book that doesn't move forward with any urgency.

Vespa's father is the head of the Museum of Unnatural History in New London, a steampunk influenced alternative relativity where science has somehow become the state religion but the world operates on the power of myth.  More than anything in the world, Vespa wants to be a scientist at the museum like her father.  But that is not a lady's work, much to Vespa's chagrin.

From there the book seems to meander.  There is a lot of danger, someone stealing souls in a jar and a potential apocolypse looming.  Yet Vespa finds herself staring at a particular gentleman's mouth and thinking about kissing him more than trying to figure out how to save her own life.

Then there is a whole unfortunate wedding subplot that feels very forced.  The wedding feels like its solely orchestrated to put all the main characters in one location.  It is not a very well developed subplot yet it takes up a huge portion of the book.

One good thing I must say about this book is that things that seemed insignificant in the beginning came back to play a larger part in the end of the novel.  The world was also interesting, if not fully fleshed out.  This book unfortunately doesn't quite reach it's potential.


365_books_a_year said...

I've been kind of disappointed in quite a few steam-punk books. I think that authors who are jumping on the bandwagon aren't equipped. They don't seem to understand that it's not like writing a vampire book or a werewolf book- you can't just make all of it up. You have to have knowledge of the Victorian Era to really make a steam punk book great- and most authors don't seem to have put in the research.

veela-valoom said...

Yeah, steampunk has to be done right to be good. I agree.

Unknown said...

Steampunk does seem to be tricky ~ I like the cover though!