The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg _ Book Review




Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

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.


The Tombs was on my TBR list before it was even released back in February of last year. The cover and the synopsis together grabbed my interest. I’m mad at myself for waiting so long to read it because I enjoyed so many aspects of this book. The setting, New York 1882, Gypsies, steam punk touches, and hidden powers. Yes some characters could have benefited from being developed more but for a debut novel I think it was pretty good.

I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy and I think that’s because I usually find the main lead female character to be whiny, weak or annoying {{cough cough Alina from The Grisha trilogy}} I however did not have this problem with the Tombs. I liked Avery, she was up front and acknowledged her weaknesses and her strengths. Also, she was clever and kind. Of course the Tombs had the YA “love triangle” where she thought she might love her best friend more than just a friend but then found her soulmate and at one point didn’t know if she could choose between the two. But thankfully that wasn’t drawn out or overly emphasized. Either way I was completely enamored with Indigo the second his character is introduced so there was no competition in my mind.

With the way the story ended I look forward to the sequel and seeing how the author’s writing grows and what she has in store for the characters futures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s