The Unnaturalists has the best cover I've seen all year. It's not sexy, it's just cool
. Coupled with a really nifty concept and I was halfway in love with it already. If only the inside were that awesome.
It starts with Vespa, the mid-rank daughter of a scholar. She's tasked with helping stuff 'unnatural creatures' (harpies, pixies, sphynxs, etc). It's actually all pretty gruesome. She's fun and Victorian and I was intrigued. Then you have Syrus, a Tinker whose family has been butchered/stolen who knows all the secrets of what's really going on in New London and is determined to stop it.
Right from the beginning you have a marked inbalance in the tone of the two narratives, and since Trent jumps back and forth every chapter that prevented me from getting a feel for it. Then it shifts even more. Despite being a whole lot more boring, Syrus is the much more cohesively written POV. Vespa goes from intriguing to confusing to just annoying. Because she's more 'fun' it took me awhile to realize that she really isn't a character at all. She's a combination of tropes the quickly wears through, leaving no motivation for her actions and me with no reason to keep reading. Normally when I've made it halfway through I'm too stubborn to give up but The Unnaturalists has beat me.