Love YA by way of petticoats, proper society, and the supernatural? Discover our favorite Victorian YA fantasies, plus a new novel on the rise!
Victorian YA lit is getting a fantastical twist in Deborah Schaumberg‘s The Tombs!
In the novel (out February 20th,) the citizens of New York City with strange magical powers are being captured and taken to an asylum known as The Tombs, never to be heard from again. Avery Kohl’s mother was taken there, so she knows to keep her own powers hidden at all costs. But when a dangerous incident uncovers her powers, she’ll have to fight back and discover the secrets of The Tombs before it’s too late.
Part of the fun and mystery of Avery’s story is its timeframe. The Victorian era comes with its own set of rules, especially for young ladies, along with a more fanciful feel and fabulous dress. There’s something about a good Victorian YA lit novel, so we’re talking about some of our favorites in honor of The Tombs! Take a look!
The Tombs is described as “Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare,” so its only fitting that we start off this list with this series! The Clockwork books brought Shadowhunters into the Victorian era with dark mysteries, devastating twists, steampunk surprises, and the most soul-skewering love triangle in recent YA literature as protagonist Tessa looks to discover her true origins and stop a killer.
Victorian London gets a murder mystery twist as the era’s weary sensibilities and a progressive young woman collide. Audrey Wadsworth would much rather unlock the mysteries of corpses with her medical examiner uncle than become a proper lady, much to her father and brother’s chagrin. When the most infamous serial killer of the age leaves the city bound by fear and someone Audrey loves is accused in the panic, it will be up to her and her uncle’s charming but slightly insufferable assistant, Thomas, to discover new evidence before it’s too late.
More mystery is afoot in These Shallow Graves! Jo is set to graduate from finishing school and marry a wealthy eligible bachelor, but she’s always wanted more adventure, to investigate like the journalists at her father’s newspaper. When her father dies under extremely suspicious circumstances, Jo teams up with a gutsy reporter named Eddie to unlock her father’s darkest secrets and find out why really lead to his death, putting themselves in plenty of danger along the way.
The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue is tonally a lot different from most Victorian tales, but in the best way. It’s got queer characters and properly rebellious teens gambling their way through Europe and did we mention PIRATES?! This one is just pure fun!
The Kingdom on Fire series takes place an a very alternate London, in which ancient magical behemoths seek to destroy humanity and a magical hierarchy of humans must stop them. It’s definitely not traditional, but it’s a wild ride that still maintains a bit of the era’s flair!
Last but not least, here’s a series that really stays true to the Victorian era. Lady Helen wants to be a proper lady, to have a good marriage, and to leave her family’s misfortunes behind her. When an alluring stranger, Lord Carlston, reveals that by birth, she’s part of an underground organization that hunts demons known as Reclaimers, Helen feels burdensome shame instead of excitement. She can’t simply sneak out at night or be seen alone with a man like other Victorian-era characters seem to do without much trouble (a massive historical inaccuracy)– it would be her greatest shame– so demon hunting isn’t exactly in the cards. When people she cares about are put in danger, who will Helen manage between her gracious debut into society and her atrocious secret?
If you’ve read and loved these titles, be prepared for The Tombs to join the fray! You can preorder order it now via Amazon and be ready to indulge on February 20, 2018!