on August 14th 2012
Genres: Young Adult
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.
“Some people whisper the Old Londoners called this place Fairyland or Arcadia or Elysium, that Saint Tesla drew our ancestors all through a door that should never have been opened. They say we don’t belong here. But people say lots of things. And whatever is true, it’s a fact that we’re here now and have been for nearly six hundred years.”
The New Londoners have kept themselves separate from the inhabitants of their world. They don’t believe in magic. They worship the saints of science like Darwin and Tesla and Curie. But in this world, trying to believe that magic isn’t real requires you to turn a blind eye to a lot.
The world is populated with creatures labelled as Unnaturals – sphinxes and grues and kraken for example. Vespa helps her father catalog them in the Museum. She has always just considered them interesting specimens until an encounter with a sphynx starts opening her eyes to the magical world around her.
Vespa doesn’t want to be a typical lady. She wants to be a scholar but her family is relying on her to make a good match so they are forcing her give up her work at the Museum.
The Tinkers are a human race who live in harmony with the magical world. They are despised by the New Londoners and rounded up to work in the power plants. Syrus is the only member of his family left since the last Cull. He is told by the Manticore to find the witch in New London because she is the only one who can prevent the death of the world. Whenever a magical creature dies, a dead zone spreads across the world. Saving the Unnaturals is the only way to save the planet.
The world building in this story is very well done. There is a lot here that I haven’t read over and over before. It is a mix of steampunk and fantasy. Look at that outfit in the cover. I want that. I’d look fierce in that.
There is a little bit of insta love which made me a tad cranky but it didn’t play out to Happily Ever After in typical fashion so I’ve forgiven it.