ARC Review: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg
Author: Deborah Schaumberg
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Historical Fiction
Release date: February 20th 2018
New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers. 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 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.
I received a free copy for an honest review.
The Tombs by Deborah Schamberg is a low fantasy book following our main heroine Avery Kohl as she desperately tries to rescue her mother from the infamous Tomb, where the evil Dr. Specter “treat” these “patients” for the psychic abilities.
Before I start to review, I want to first say that I literally have to go back to find Avery’s name in the synopsis because I forgot her name.
I forgot the main character’s name.
...Let that sink in for a moment.
I think that itself is...is a pretty good representation of what this book is like.
The definition of “mediocre” (according to Urban Dictionary) is: “Not good, not bad, but a negative term nonetheless. Often used to describe something that is average, but was expected to be much better”. And that is exactly what this book was like for me.
The Tombs represents everything that makes something mediocre: good at everything, but not truly excellent at anything. There were many aspects in this book that I appreciated and I find it definitely well done in, but none of these really stood out enough to make me want to continue with the series, or be as invested in the story as the author would've liked.
I'm not going to elaborate too much on what I liked and didn't like the book because I don't want to spoil it (in case if you are planning to read it). First off, the relationship(s). Let's just say that if you really don't like instant-love/star-crossed romance, you're going to have...some problems with the book (like me). But even when the story itself was not captivating enough for me to be truly invested in the book, there were undoubtedly great factors in the storytelling that need to be praised. First off, the pace was eminently consistent when revealing what the true "problem" the story was actually centering around (it was not just told to the reader from the very beginning, which was an excellent move. It was very clever for the author to let the reader discover the true problem alongside Avery instead of just being told everything). It was almost most likely because of this technique that contributed to creating such a consistent story-telling pace.
Even with these praises I just gave the book, I still feel like this book is mediocre because it just didn't capture my interest enough. A good book would want you to keep reading it because you truly want to know what happened next. You should never have to remind yourself that "oh yeah, I'm reading this book". A good book would instinctively make you pick it up and continue on the story's journey any chance you get, and this book did not make me feel that.
Because this book technically did not have any serious flaws for it to deserve being called a really bad book, but at the same time was not good enough (in my opinion ) for me to enjoy it as much as I would've liked, nor enough for me to want to continue on with the series. That is why I'm giving this book three stars.
about the author
Deborah Schaumberg's debut novel -- THE TOMBS-- is a historical fantasy about aura seers. It has a hint of steampunk and an evil doctor. She grew up in New York, and now lives in Maryland with her family and two big dogs.