Monday, 10 December 2012

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Received for review
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (18 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007498845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007498840
  • THE GRAVEYARD BOOK meets JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL in this gothic steampunk page-turner for readers of all ages.

    Bartholomew Kettle won't live long. Changelings never do. The child of a human mother and a faery father, Bartholomew is a secret, despised by both his races. If the English don't hang him for witchcraft, the faerys will do something worse. So his mother keeps him locked away, hidden from the world in the faery slums of Bath.

    But one day Bartholomew witnesses a mysterious lady kidnap another changeling through a shadowy portal, and he realizes the danger is closer than ever before. Changelings are surfacing in the rivers, their bodies empty of blood and bone and their skin covered in red markings. A powerful figure sits in the shadows, pushing the pieces in place for some terrible victory. When a sinister faery in a top-hat begins to stalk Bartholomew's steps, he knows it's his turn. Something is coming for him. Something needs him. But when you're a changeling there's no where to run...
  • Cover: I love this cover! Beautiful, bright and relevant!
I'm not a huge middle-grade reader but thought this sounded amazing, the cover drew me in and after reading Chris Colfer's The Land of Stories, I definitely wanted to give more middle grade a try.
I had such high expectations of this book.  
I loved the steampunk/gothic setting of an alternative Bath and London, filled with fey.
I loved the original and creative character names that made the book feel completely different to anything I'd read before.  For example Arthur Jelliby and Mr Lickerish.
I really liked Arthur's character- he was very much a reluctant hero.  He hates being the only one with the knowledge of who is killing changlelings as he knows putting a stop to it is dangerous, and yet it's the right thing to do.
Bartholomew is a sweet, funny yet lonely character, and we get to follow him on his adventure of trying to find his sister as well as a desperately needed friend.
It did take a while for me to get into this book.  I found the first 150-200 pages were a lot of build up and were quite slow, which for me at the age of 20 is fine, but I think as this is a 'middle-grade' book aimed at younger readers, the slowness may bore them before the action really kicks in.
I really enjoyed this book, but it never got to the point where I couldn't put it down.  
However, having said that, I think now that the world building has set up, plus a cliff hanger, will mean that the sequel will get going much faster and hopefully draw me in much quicker.
Definitely an enjoyable read with an amazing world that has made me want to read the next book.
3.5/5 stars.
Definitely check it out if you're a middle-grade fan.

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