The Tinker King

By Tiffany Trent

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

February 11, 2014

The Tinker King is the sequel to The Unnaturalists.  The novel begins during the cleanup after the destruction of the Grue.  The point of view switches between Vespa and Syrus.  We are reunited with Vespa, Syrus and Bayne as they take on another big bad in this second novel, each having a darker mind-set after losing innocence, gaining experience and growing a little from the first novel.  Piskel and Truffler add some comic relief but not near as much as the first novel.  Vespa is dealing with feeling guilty and ashamed after her spell with Lucy and Bayne and trying to seek forgiveness from Bayne. Bayne is being dark and aloof. Syrus is dealing with his feelings for Olivia and the massive loss of his people.  They each are disgusted at being a society that allowed the devastation of a species to gain ease in their own lives.

There is a new element added to this novel which is the melding of science and magic, whereas before it was Science vs. Elementals (magic) and now it is blending them together to get an unknown science. We see this through magically melded automatons.  This fits well into the steampunk genre, along with corsets, tinkers, metal, grease, Cthulhu-like creatures and airships.  Tiffany Trent makes you feel as if you are there in the novel with the characters in the dark, dank, dripping underbelly of pollution left after the near decimation of the elemental race.  Such a lovely flow of words and sentences that makes you long for more.

There undercurrent theme from the last novel takes front seat in this novel and that is the theme of removing the wasteful tendencies of the world and stop eliminating a species or ecosystem to make your life easier. Tiffany Trent shows this by the cleanup of Vespa’s hometown and the characters trying to make amends for personal wrongs and trying to cleanup other people’s messes to make the world a better place.

Overall, it was a lovely novel filled with a nice blend of action, suspense and romance, with beautiful world-building.