The Unnaturalists is an unusual book. It is a mix of fantasy, magic, history and steampunk. It is set in New London where 600 years ago the people where sucked through a portal into this new world. Along with the people, buildings from various periods of time were also sucked through. The world they landed in had many creatures who the people called unnaturals. They hunt the unnaturals and use them to fuel their world.
Vespa Nyx is the daughter of the head of the Museum in New London. She wants nothing more than to work in the Museum and become a Pedant but there are no female Pedants in New London. Syrus is a Tinker who lives with his clan in Tinkerville, a collection of old train cars. He has the gift of being able to understand the unnaturals when no one else can. Pedant Hal Lumin is a mysterious character who seems to always come to the aid of Vespa and Nix. We then learn that Vespa is a witch, probably the last witch and Hal and the Architects, a heretic group who practices magic, want her to help heal the world. Vespa, Hal and Syrus struggle to figure out what is going on with the captured unnaturals and tinkers in the refineries that power the city. What they discover shakes them to the core and makes them realize how evil their world really is. Of course there is one who wants to destroy everything and he needs Vespa to do it.
The concept of this book was awesome; I loved the idea of combining steampunk and fantasy and magic. I actually really liked the characters of Vespa and Syrus; they were well fleshed out and had a lot of dimension. However, the world building really suffered in this book. It was a fascinating world but it seemed like there were a lot of things unexplained or just plain improbable. I wish Trent had spent a little more time building a logical world in addition to all the time she spent on her story.