Review: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg
Release Date: February 20, 2018 
Publisher: HarperTeen   
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy 
SourceARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Deborah Schaumberg’s gripping debut takes readers on a breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried?

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t.

Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than listening to secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city.

Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”...and no one knows why.

Deborah Schaumberg's The Tombs first landed on my radar because of its stunning cover. Then I read the synopsis and a decision was made: I needed it and pronto! As it turns out, The Tombs is a magical and rich debut. It's hard not to become completely enthralled by Avery's journey as well as rooting for her every step of the way. 

There's many things Deborah does well here; however, one of the best is the descriptions. It was so incredibly easy to be transported to New York City, 1882. I could picture Avery's world perfectly - the factory, her apartment, the tombs, etc. The tombs actually offered one of my favorite settings: a greenhouse where Avery discovers more answers to her problems! The greenhouse was so cool. I wish it was real so I could go and visit it. 

Additionally, Deborah did a fantastic job of fleshing out the story lines. I'll admit this isn't the most fast paced book ever. Deborah takes her time building up the world as well as Avery's past and current struggles; however, I was never once bothered by the speed. I eagerly ate up the descriptions, and I loved getting to know Avery better. More importantly, when things did speed up, I felt prepared. I knew what was going on - and had some very big questions!-and I couldn't wait to see Avery kick butt! 

Avery, the main character here, was likable and easy to root for. When the book first begins, Avery has grown use to blending into the background. It's easier for both her father and her that way; however, while Avery may be quiet, she's no pushover by any means. She's strong and powerful, more so than she even thinks. The scenes were she helped her fellow factory workers pulled at my heartstrings. Avery would risk anything for their safety, and that made her even more lovable in my opinion. Additionally, over the course of the book Avery's experiences a coming-of-age. She wants to get to the bottom of her mother's illness, Avery wants to know if she's like her. This brings about many struggles: between Avery and her father, between Avery and her best friend/trusted companion, and even between Avery and herself. It was interesting to see her face this struggle - should she leave it all alone or challenge everything - and I was very happy with the end result. 

Now for the one thing that dropped The Tombs down a star: the romance. There's two potential love interests - Avery's best friend & the boy Avery shared a kiss with years ago. Normally, love triangles don't bother me, but I just didn't like it here. I thought Avery's best friend was the better choice; however, she constantly felt drawn to this boy she knew almost nothing about (cue insta-love). It just didn't work for me - I wanted more for Avery, I wanted more for her best friend.

Regardless, The Tombs is a wonderful debut, perfect for YA readers who love their historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and magic. I can't wait to see where Deborah goes next. I'm personally hoping for a sequel! 

4 stars!! 

1 comment:

  1. I love this cover and it sounds really interesting. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll have to read it at some point. Thanks for sharing your review.


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