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The Tinker King (Unnaturalists) Hardcover – February 11, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7–10—In this sequel to The Unnaturalists(S & S, 2012), Olivia is now Empress of New London, ably assisted by her magical advisors, Bayne and Vespa, as well as her Artificer, Syrus, who repairs broken machinery. A new villain threatens their shaky civilization in the form of Ximu, Queen of the Shadow Spiders. Ximu's attacks force Olivia's retinue to flee to Bayne's family home, Scientia. There they meet old acquaintances Charles and Tesla, who propose a mixture of machinery and magic to trap Ximu and free her enslaved minions. Trent's novel features carefully crafted settings and scores of intriguing characters. While not a stand-alone, this steampunk novel will give series followers welcome updates on favorite characters. The switch between Syrus's first-person and Vespa's third-person limited narration may initially cause a little confusion. Large amounts of backstory and setting description force character development to take a backseat to plot. Bayne and Vespa's romance seems hastily tucked into spare moments among fires, traps, and battles, while the resolution hinges on a convenient solution and a rapid pace in the final confrontation scene, which may leave readers feeling unsatisfied. Still, Trent forges an intricate melding of fantasy and steampunk that is dense but accessible to most fans of the genre. Perhaps future sequels will give readers a little breathing room between calamities.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

From Booklist

In a (possible) finish to the story begun in The Unnaturalists (2012), Ximu, long-imprisoned Queen of the Shadowspiders, creates an army of were-spiders—and it looks like humanity is doomed unless the cyborg armies of the ancient werewolf Tinker King can be revived. Reading the opener is a definite prerequisite, but on the way to a climactic battle and sacrifice, Trent moves multiple romantic subplots along smartly while stirring plenty of chases, ambushes, escapes, reversals of fortune, clever schemes, and startling revelations into her Chinese-inflected, gas-lamp fantasy. Grades 6-9. --John Peters
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Unnaturalists
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442457597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442457591
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tiffany Trent grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, surrounded by mountains and books. She is the author of the young adult fantasy novel THE UNNATURALISTS, a Green Earth Book Award Honor book. She is also the author of the HALLOWMERE series and several short stories. When not writing, she can usually be found playing with bees, chasing chickens, or contemplating pie. Find her online at www.tiffanytrent.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ruth DeJauregui on February 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was lucky and received an ARC copy of the book in an online drawing.

The sequel of The Unnaturalists picks up shortly after the first book. In this book, the Tinker, Syrus, is the main character. His chapters are first person present, while Vespa's chapters are third person past tense.

With the destruction of much of New London and myth now illegal, the four young leaders of the new society are trying to rebuild their technology, using Syrus' Tinkers knowledge of machines. But now new troubles threaten them and an ancient enemy rises to oppose their efforts to rebuild.

Again, the twists and turns of the story line are not predictable. I enjoyed this book but I'm hoping that since I read an advance copy, a few details have changed with the publication of the book.

I was a little disturbed at a few spots. For example, at one point there's a huge disaster, but there was no indication of regret by the main characters of those who didn't make it through. And the Elementals that were saved simply disappear, with only a few references and questions as to their fate. Also, the ending felt a little rushed.

Other than those details, I once again stayed up much too late while finishing the book. I couldn't put it down. The details, wonderfully expressed and yet not overdone, including Syrus' eating utensils, again led me to the Asian heritage of the Tinkers. The story moved right along, keeping me wanting to turn the pages and find out what happens next.

I highly recommend this book, not just to young adults, but to adult steampunk and fantasy fans as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Ruggiero on March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Tinker King takes the reader on a gripping, richly detailed, and intelligent adventure through a myth-powered, steampunk world. Towering risk, fearful love, reluctant compassion even for virulent evildoers, and scientific intrigue… touches all the best bases!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me just start out by saying, I hate spiders! This book was FILLED with them! Ugh, knowing they're oversized, can talk, will bite or eat at any given will, ugh, there were many times it was hard to get to sleep at night!

With that being said, The Tinker King didn't disappoint in terms of plot, antagonist and storyline! If you liked what you saw in the first book, you may also fall in love with this one. I still think the first book is better in terms of goals, but I loved the my boo Syrus was the leading man, and had a hell of a great antagonist!

If you haven't read the first book, I'll fill you in on some details(hopefully spoiler free of course). The Tinker King is the sequel to The Unnaturalists, a steampunk alternative universe that mirrors 18th-19th century London(I don't know, it's hard to say how long this new world has existed) as Charles Darwin opened a portal that created a parallel universe, in which dwellers of this world know of the Old London, but rarely speak of it, in favor of the New London.

Supernatural creatures are somewhat normalized, and magic is both forbidden and selfishly used by those who ban it. Chinese culture is the biggest non-European cultural influence, as an ethnic group known as Tinkers(those with spiritual ties to the Unnaturals, and also oppressed people who are known for being extremely handy).

I still enjoyed the world building, it doesn't fall any less short from the original when it comes to painting the world, and how it's different from ours. I liked the pacing for the most part, but I will say, I preferred Syrus' chapters to Vespa's. His chapters always seemed more exciting than hers for some reason, though Im not sure why.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful sequel! I devoured this book within only a few days, delighted to return to the world that Tiffany Trent created in her previous novel, The Unnaturalists. The plot, the pacing, the readable but lyrical style, and the strong characterization all make this book an exciting, superb read. It's classified as "Young Adult," but I'm fifty-five, and I found it memorable and thoroughly enjoyable.
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