Monday, September 17, 2012

The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent

Vespa Nyx is joking around with a stuffy patron when the paralytic field suspending a sphinx in New London’s Museum of Unnatural History is suddenly disabled. She later claims to her father, the head of the museum, that she was pushed from behind. This time the field was much stronger than the one she took down at Miss Marmalade’s Seminary for Young Ladies of Quality that led to her expulsion a year earlier. Working for her father at the Museum ever since, Vespa prefers the life of a Scientist. She secretly desires to be the first female Pedant in several generations rather than to become a wife and mother as is expected of her. When she is aided by the unfamiliar Pedant Lumin, she is shocked to discover her father dislikes him even more than she does.

Not wanting to leave Vespa alone after her incident, she goes with her father and his creepy assistant, Charles Waddingly. Nicknamed The Wad by Vespa, she feels hurt that her father has replaced her. When she awakens during the carriage ride and doesn’t remember the trip, her father brushes off her concerns. Soon the carriage is stopped by a small gang of highwaymen who demand all of their valuables and ask for the strongbox. Vespa steps forward, trying to put on a brave face, and tells them that they will be sorry if they take it. A voice calls out saying that she is right and a small clan of Tinkers emerges from the other side of the road. The highwaymen scurry off and the Tinkers come forward. Stating that they know what is in the trunk and that they can have all the Waste if they really want it, the Tinkers demand payment for their rescue. When a Tinker, Syrus, spies the jade frog that Vespa carries in her purse to remind her of her mother, he takes it and leaves the money behind. Vespa vows to get her frog back and to find out what exactly is in the chest.

When some unnaturals escape in the laboratory, The Wad stays behind while Vespa goes off in search of a containment unit. Struggling to get it to a lift, Vespa runs into Pedant Lumin. He offers to take the unit upstairs while Vespa goes off to get her father. Vespa is told by the receptionist that her father is not to be disturbed. She forces her way into his office and stumbles upon several Pedants and museum directors in protective gear with the strongbox open. It is full of the Waste from the forest and Vespa slowly backs her way out to keep from contaminating anything else.

Vespa makes her way back to the laboratory and finds Pedant Lumin with only one sylphid, who he has trained, where there should have been a roomful; of them. Confused, Vespa studies Lumin and her thoughts turn to whether or not he is going to kiss her and if that is what she wants. What she doesn’t expect is for him to reveal that he is an Architect of Athena (a warlock) and that he believes Vespa is a witch!

Elsewhere, the Empress’ guards come to the abandoned rail yard to Cull Tinkers to work in the refinery. Syrus is the only member of the reed clan to escape. He goes to visit the Manticore deep in the forest. He laments that he wishes the Manticor4e could do something to protect the Tinkers who protect her. She says that she always thought there was nothing she could do but realizes that she was mistaken. The Manticore tells Syrus to bring her the witch and they will be able to free his family.

Is Vespa Nyx a witch and what does this mean for her future? Just who is pedant Lumin and is he truly a warlock? What secret does Charles Waddingly hide? Why is Vespa’s father experimenting with the Waste? Will Syrus be able to help the Manticore and save the forest and the clan families? And will Vespa be able to rise about it all when the situation calls for it?

A book with tons of action and adventure set in a steam punk, fantasy realm with a splash of romance, readers will be clamoring for more of Vespa Nyx. Ms. Trent is currently working on book two.

Visit Tiffany Trent's website.

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