Read The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann Online

the-peculiar

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her thrDon't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel....

Title : The Peculiar
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062195180
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Peculiar Reviews

  • Lindsay Cummings
    2019-05-03 01:20

    dude's 18, and he writes like a freakin 1800's poet.(Buy this book)

  • Heather
    2019-05-17 00:00

    To begin with this novel was well-written but not very engaging. There is a lot of ambitious world building but at times it feels cobbled together. The language while very descriptive failed to create much of an atmosphere. A lot of time is spent describing things instead of letting the reader use their imagination. The world is described very thoroughly while the characters are left with few personality traits and no features. Also more time could have been spent setting the stage in the beginning and explaining the state the world was in after the Smiling War. Humans and fae are at war and then we jump to see the fae holding government office without any clear idea of the passage of time. How did it go from enemies to equals so fast? And if the fae are so integrated why such a strong prejudice against changelings? Because when the two groups mix this is bound to happen.It seems like a strange choice for a children's/ya book to spend so much time following a grown man. Why make the lead character so doltish and ineffectual? Why choose the person least likely to act, someone drawn in by chance and so reluctant to help? A hero shouldn't be the one who whines "why not someone else?." This makes it hard to believe his later heroic behavior. I spent a large part of this book picturing Jelliby as a middle aged man because of the way he speaks and acts and was surprised later when he is described as young and handsome. Wouldn't it have been better to make this clear in the beginning instead of making it seem as though he was just a narrative device to reveal to the reader the behavior of Mr. Lickerish. For the main protagonist he isn't a very sympathetic character. He is more inclined to help whom he perceives as a peer (Melusine) than he is to help a child (Bartholomew). He never seems to warm up to Bartholomew simply calling him boy even after he has learned his name. All this child wants is a friend, he spends a great deal of time thinking about it and most of his actions are driven by this desire. It seems cruel of the author to offer up Jelliby as this "friend."Attaching the term "changeling" to these half-blood children was very misleading. Traditionally a changeling is a fae child in the place of a human child and vice versa. I was under the mistaken impression from the jacket that Bartholomew was a human changeling living with the fae because of the authors usage of the term changeling to mean half-blooded faery. It seemed strange to me that people were so afraid of these changeling children. If they are so feared why allow human and fae to mix at all? It seems to me that if the children are feared why the lack of uproar about humans and fae mixing. It is never mentioned that the mixed couples are shunned, only the children.The plot of this book didn't really pick up until the end and then it stops abruptly clearly setting up for a sequel. I was winding down for the finish when I realized there wasn't enough to wrap it up. This wasn't advertised as a series so I was a little surprised. While this novel has its faults its not a bad read. The writing is very assured and the story is imaginative. If you enjoy the genre you will probably enjoy it. Where it is lacking is in the characters, I found it very hard to connect with any of them. If it happened at all it was toward the end but by then I was already disengaged and simply following along.*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher through Firstreads.

  • Alexandra
    2019-05-10 18:21

    Ich habe mich ausnahmsweise im Rahmen einer Challenge aus meiner typischen Lesekomfortzone herausbewegt, bin ins unbekannte Genre der Young/Adult-Fantasy eingetaucht und muss sagen, es war großartig!Was hat sich dieser 16-jährige Autor (ist das wirklich möglich?) da einfallen lassen – so viel Fantasie und eine grandiose Mischung aus den unterschiedlichsten literarischen Elementen.In Bath, England irgendwann im 19. Jahrhundert öffnet sich ein Portal, und unzählige verschiedene Feenwesen überschwemmen aus einem Paralleluniversum die Realwelt. Was dann folgt, sind alle typischen Immigrationsprobleme: schwieriges Zusammenleben von Feen und Menschen aufgrund ihrer Unterschiedlichkeit, Vermischung der Rassen, Intoleranz, Fremdenfeindlichkeit, offener Rassismus bis zu Gewalt und Mord an Mischlingskindern. Der Dreck und die verpestete Umwelt der fortschreitenden Industrialisierung und die bittere Armut der Arbeiterklasse vor allem in der Bevölkerungsschicht der Mischfamilien lässt sehr genau die Inspiration der Werke von Charles Dickens erkennen, den der junge Autor sehr verehrt. Neben den Fantasyelementen wurde auch noch eine Steampunk-Komponente eingeführt – die Mitglieder der britischen Upperclass verwenden mechanische Pferde, Butler, winzige Vögel zur Datenübermittlung etc.- was die Geschichte wirklich zu einem einzigartigen Universum zusammenwebt, das seinesgleichen sucht und an Innovationskraft kaum zu überbieten ist.Mehrere Mischlingskinder werden ermordet aufgefunden und der kleine Halbelf Bartholomew Kettle, der übrigens nicht ein stolzer, wunderschöner Krieger wie in Herr der Ringe ist, sondern eher einem hässlichen ausgehungerten Oliver Twist ähnelt, fühlt sich auch bedroht. Irgendwie sind der Innenminister, ein Stolzer Elf der Upperclass, und eine Fee in einem violetten Kleid in diese Angelegenheit verwickelt. Als Bartholomews kleine Schwester Hettie von der Frau entführt wird, machen sich der Junge und ein menschlicher politischer Gegenspieler des Innenministers auf den Weg, das kleine Mädchen zu finden und die politischen Ränke aufzudecken.Die Charaktere sind verschroben, aber äußerst liebevoll entwickelt, und das Ganze gipfelt in einem Showdown, der in einem Cliffhanger endet. So, mehr möchte ich gar nicht mehr verraten, denn sonst würde ich zuviel spoilern.Wer übrigens eine simple der Jugend angepasste Sprache in diesem Roman erwartet, wird auch total überrascht sein, denn ich habe selten so treffende gar nicht übertriebene aber dennoch blumige Beschreibungen gelesen. Also auch sprachlich ist diese Geschichte hitverdächtig.Fazit: Solltet Ihr Euch jemals entschließen, wieder mal ein Y/A –Fantasybuch zu lesen, nehmt dieses. Es ist nicht nur ein Vergnügen für Jugendliche, sondern auch für Erwachsene. Ich freue mich auf jeden Fall auf Teil 2, denn ich will unbedingt wissen, wie die Geschichte weitergeht:-)Ach ja der eine Stern Abzug ist meine ganz persönliche Rache für den massiven Cliffhänger - ich hasse sowas!

  • Mpauli
    2019-05-24 19:14

    Hello everyone, it's me, Magic! With a capital M that is. You know, the concept. When you say "It's magic" then you're referring to me.Being the concept of magic in today's world is pretty tough. Back in the old days I was quite strong, but today. Thanks to Youtube vidoes of little kittens doing whatever little kittens do, the concept of cuteness is bigger than me. Cuteness! We used to laugh at that concept! In the Middle Ages we would have wiped the floor with...ah forget it.So, what does the concept of magic do these days? Planning tragical accidents for so called sorcerors, for example. Remember Siegfried and Roy and their huge kitten (damn that kitten!)? Not admitting to something, but you know real magic, when I hit you. Just saying.No, most of the time I try to do something positive and visit books. Books that deserve my attention and that are purely me. The last book I visited was "The Peculiar". It's such a beautiful book! It's like Christmas for your soul. It has little steampunky gadgets, fantastical faeries, loveable characters and a big chunk of me.If you aren't a cold-hearted robot that likes to hit children, go and read this book. No, scratch that. Read this book and buy the second one as well, cause that one evening, when you finish it, you'll be like: "No, no, no, no, no!!!!" And you need that second book.So, take this advice from a professional. Let yourself become enchanted by all the beauty of "The Peculiar", be ensorcelled by its language and this gathering of magic. Or was it Magic, the gathering. I'm so confused these days."Oh, oh, helli-hello and I'm in this book, too toodelloo!"Oh, shut up, Cuteness!

  • Laura
    2019-05-22 00:59

    Thank God that's over. The guy can write. He really can. But I fell asleep several times while reading this. I took a shower with it playing, and was thinking I may even fall asleep in there listening to it!! (I didn't.)Pros: Terrific cover. Audio is very well done. He writes like a British author (a high compliment, coming from me). He seems to know England well (and he was 16 when he started writing this), yet he was born in Colorado, and now lives in Switzerland. He writes in some respects like an old soul. Sounds good, right? No, no, a thousand times no. Cons: I couldn't have cared less about the characters, any of them. And some were kids, in fear of their lives! I still didn't care. They were all flat. The story glimmered at times. It could've been so much better. There were hints of whimsy and magic that gave me hope, time after time, and then it was as though someone took the flame and buried it in a well.....along with my enthusiasm for the story, my will to care about it at all, and my will to keep from drifting into unconsciousness!! Now that I'm finished, I feel like you do when you dive way down in a pool to retrieve something from the bottom, and race back up to the top, seeing the sunshine and breathing air again.

  • Emily
    2019-05-17 20:17

    The author was only 16 when he started writing this, but you really wouldn't know unless someone told you. Some beautiful metaphors and passages throughout, just very well written. Reminded me of the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Strout in setting; the rainy and foggy portrayal of London, lots of scenes taking place at night, many magical beings around. VERY UPSET when I finished. I read it on my Nook so I wasn't sure how close I was to the end (which can be a perk or a problem, depending on the book) and when I turned that last page and saw the author's bio page instead of more story, a lot of expletives came out of my mouth. Good for him for writing something that made me so mad that I couldn't keep going. But I still think he's a jerk for it.

  • Aleshanee
    2019-04-30 23:26

    4.5 Sterne für eine wirklich originelle und abenteuerliche Steam-Fantasy Geschichte von einem sehr jungen Autor!In der Nacht vom 23. September, Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts, schneit es in Bath, in der Nähe von London, schwarze Federn - bis zum Morgengrauen hinterlassen sie nur noch Ruinen. Alle Menschen im Umkreis sterben und schnell wachsen die Gerüchte: Monster gehen um! Doch tatsächlich hat sich ein Portal zur Feenwelt geöffnet und Kobolde, Gnome, Satyre und die hochgeborenen Sidhe strömen aus den Hügeln in die Städte - und sie kommen nicht in friedlicher Absicht ...Die magischen Wesen wurden jedoch von den englischen Soldaten überrannt, versklavt und fristen nun in Elendsvierteln in "New Bath" ihr Dasein. Doch die Zeit heilt alle Wunden und so kommt es, dass die Menschen und Feen Seite an Seite friedlich miteinander zu leben lernen - doch dieser Frieden trügt. Vor allem die Mischlingskinder haben darunter zu leiden. Sie werden geächtet, müssen sich verstecken, damit sie nicht am Galgen landen, und werden von allen nur "die Seltsamen" genannt. Also wenn ich das Alter bedenke, in dem Autor das geschrieben hat, muss ich wirklich meinen Hut ziehen! Ich fands wirklich großartig - ein wunderbares Abenteuer spannend von der ersten bis zur letzten Seite und für jedes Alter ein großes Lesevergnügen!Bartholomew Kettle, ein Mischling, der mit seiner Schwester Hettie nur selten die Wohnung ihrer Mutter verlassen darf, beobachtet aus seinem Versteck auf dem Dachboden gerne die Nachbarschaft. Das Auftauchen der ominösen Dame im plaumenblauen Kleid bleibt nicht ohne Folgen, denn Barthy verwickelt sich immer mehr in eine Verschwörung aus höchsten Kreisen. Ein liebenswerter und zu Herzen gehender Charakter, dem das Schicksal übel mitgespielt hat.Als sich schließlich die Morde an Mischlingskindern häufen, schaltet sich auch die Regierung ein, der Staatsrat - dessen Mitglied auch der unscheinbare Mr Jelliby ist. Eigentlich mag er keine Sitzungen und ihn interessieren auch nicht die großen Dramen, die sich in der Stadt abspielen, doch wie es der Zufall will, gerät auch er in den Bann der mysteriösen Dame. Und damit mitten hinein in ein gefährliches Abenteuer. Natürlich gibt es auch einen bösen Gegenspieler. Hier hat der Autor schon recht strikt alles in gut und böse getrennt, was mich in dem Fall nicht gestört hat, da er es trotzdem schafft, die Figuren vielschichtig und entwicklungsfähig zu machen. Es ist nicht großartig anspruchsvoll oder tiefgründig, sondern zeigt eher offen und verständlich, auch für jüngere Leser, was alles möglich ist, wenn man sich nur traut.Es ist flüssig geschrieben mit vielen verspielten Details und vor allem auch mit ungewöhnlichen und stimmigen Metaphern und Umschreibungen, die die Geschichte auflockern und viel Lesespaß bieten. Gerade durch den Schreibstil hab ich mich wunderbar unterhalten gefühlt und es war durchweg spannend bis zum Schluss. Gerade das Rätseln, was es mit der Dame, den Morden und den mechanischen Vögeln auf sich hat, blieb sehr lange geheimnisvoll und die vielen kleinen Steampunk Elemente des "Qualmzeitalters" haben die Geschichte wunderbar abgerundet.Vor allem aber auch die Entwicklung der beiden Hauptfiguren hat mir hier sehr gut gefallen, genauso wie die unerschöpflichen, originellen Ideen, die die Geschichte sehr lebendig gemacht haben!© AleshaneeWeltenwanderer1 - Die Seltsamen2 - Die Wedernoch

  • Claire Legrand
    2019-05-02 00:01

    Just finished THE PECULIAR this morning on the train. It was an absolutely FABULOUS read -- elaborate world-building, endearing (and terrifying!) characters (especially my favorite, Mr. Jelliby), and truly beautiful prose. Several scenes thoroughly creeped me out, and the ending took my breath away. Full of adventure and mystery, horror and wonder, THE PECULIAR was just that -- peculiar, and unforgettable, in the best of ways. I can't WAIT to see what happens next in this series. Love, love, love.

  • Alison
    2019-05-19 22:25

    I really didn't care for this book for several reasons. I think the biggest problem for me was that none of the characters were really engaging to me...I didn't care for any of them, they were not terribly well developed in my opinion and I just didn't much care what happened to any of them. This book takes place in a world where Fairies have come to England and more or less gotten trapped there. The fairies arrival resulted in a mass destruction of Bath in England so the fairies so you are immediately not so sympathetic to the fairies plus most of the ones you meet are varying degrees of unlikable. Once the fairies got stuck in England, the British have stuck them in ghettos/done everything they can to temper their magic and turned the vast majority of the fairies into a poverty striken, subjugated class..no there goes my sympathy for the person. Barthie is a nice enough Changling and Hettie is too young to be interesting and Mr. Jelliby as a totally lazy, disinterested man of privilege thrown into a situation where he can make a difference is the most appealing but his character is quite undeveloped, IMO. Jack Box and Millicene were the most interesting to me and I kept hoping Ophelia would show up and turn into a real character but she didn't. The book is very, very British in feel which is kind of fun in and of itself.The world is kind of neat though the view of humanity is so dim that it was frusrating to me. Perhaps the most annoying to me was that, as a book that only barely held my attention, it ended with a total cliff hanger...nothing resolved. I don't know that I care enough to read the next now.

  • Soumi
    2019-05-08 18:10

    Bachmann, you rock dude.My love and fondness for middle grade novel brought my interest in The Peculiar, and truth to be spoken; I was left absolutely and utterly mesmerized by this gripping and enchanting gothic mystery. If you have very sweet idea of faery folks being beautiful and charming, then let me warn you, they are charming indeed but a very haunting way. Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie are changelings, known as Peculiars and hated by both humans and Faes. When a mysterious lady whisked away a boy, Bartholomew broke the rule, he got noticed by the dangerous lady in plum coloured dress and by many that included risking his life. In this turmoil, Bartholomew made an unlikely alley, young Arthur Jelliby.Part steampunk, part gothic, part feary magic and part mystery, the peculiar is one of best, actually in my opinion it’s the best MG book of 2012, I have come across. The writing was magnificent and classic, very simple yet so unlikely. The novel itself unfolds the dark monstrous secret that lies beneath, mysteries tangled in magic and murder. In this alternative Great Britain, each of the characters of The Peculiar was chosen and crafted very carefully and skilfully, especially Bartholomew who was very wise and courageous, unlike the other boys at his age. I’m also very much influenced by Jelliby and Hattie. I would like to see more of little Hattie in next installment.At this very young age, author Stefan Bachmann has wrote something that is beyond brilliancy and his creativity is truly remarkable. In this dark and ethereal world Bachmann introduced, I was immersed into this stupendously magnificent book, and caught between the conflicts between of humans and fae alike. Sometime I felt chills in my blood as the book became more gruesomely murderous, and I finished it fast only to solve the puzzle. However by the end I found myself desperate for the next book, The Whatnot.So dear Mr. Bachmann, would you please hurry and satisfy our thrust for the sequel?

  • KayvanTee
    2019-05-07 20:18

    Eine tolle fantastische und spannende Welt. Voller magischer Wesen und eigenartigen Geschehnissen.

  • Book Whales
    2019-04-29 19:57

    Originally posted @ Book Whales When it comes to books about fey, I always look for a good world-building. The Peculiar did not dissapoint. Stefan made a world so colorful and vivid. I don’t usually read middle-grade books, but this book became an exception. I love how it will test your imagination. A story bursting with colors, action and mystery, I was addicted.The story took place in a world where faeries were trapped in our world and an imminent war between human and faeries is about to explode. The Changelings/half-lings were being condemned. Bartholomew and his sister, who themselves are changelings abide from this rule given by their mother,“Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.” Then Hettie disappeared, who can Bartie trust? Will he be able to find his sister? Pick up this book to find out.The world-building is incredible! It was well constructed and furnished. Last middle-grade book that I read that can muster a rivalry is The Percy Jackson series. Yep, this book blew me away. I love how Stefan made a world that is supposed to be a fairytale, darker and richer. I always commented books that can be turn into a comic because on how the author describes the scenes and characters wonderfully. Stefan made a world that is original, colorful yet dark at the same time. Steampunk, murder mystery and gothic fantasy gave this book extra edge.The character-building is remarkable. The fact that the story was written in different perspectives made the characters more connectable and believable. I felt Bartie’s every emotion from this book. He longs to belong and the way he sees things made him mature for his age. Bartie became my instant favorite among the cool bunch. Arthur Jelliby! The unlikely hero is my second favorite. Why? What a peculiar name! His name is really stuck in my head now haha. There is something about him that you won’t easily forget. Though, there were times when I find him boring at first but that trait had actually caught my curiosity too. There are more characters that made an impression on me. I shall leave them all to you. Just don’t forget to buy a copy.There was no romance. You know.. the boy-girl relationship? None. But you will feel the love between siblings, a story where you will do anything for your family. It was touching.Over all, this book is awe-inspiring! I was satisfied with the ending! Haha I have a feeling that The Peculiar will be a series- yay- I need another book from Stefan. I recommend this book to steampunk and fantasy lovers.I give this book , 4.5 peculiar whales.5

  • Nafiza
    2019-05-11 22:04

    I kind of loved this book. For reasons that are completely my own and probably because I study books and analyze them and read into them far more than just the story. However before I get into those reasons, let’s discuss the book itself. The cover is gorgeous. It’s bright and interesting and sure to catch the eyes of the intended audience. And even though it does not say so in the cover or elsewhere in the synopsis (I don’t think) the book has steampunk elements that I like very much.The beginning is slow and at first I wondered if I should give up but for some reason, I decided that I must persist and so I did. Bart and his sister have a sad life, having to live hidden as they do because being Peculiars, their lives are forfeit if they get caught. Their mother was fooled by a high fairy who loved her, abused her and then left her. The novel begins with the narration of how fairies crossed over from fairyland to Bath and the war that ensued as humans and fairies battled for supremacy with the humans finally retaining their superior status. That was the slow part – too much telling.However, once the narrative takes off, it does so with a bang. Bart is a sympathetic character and it is easy to be completely on his side as he lives his half-life not understanding why he is hated for being something and someone he had no say in. Then there are the various other characters, some of them terrifying, others not so much. Arthur Jelliby is a very interesting character – he is dynamic and shows a lot of growth during the course of the narrative. He begins as a pampered, soft character and ends as someone who knows and is determined to do right and punish the wrong. The pacing is awesome, the tension works to keep the narrative flowing and the relationships between Arthur and Bart, and Bart and the rest of the world is intriguing. Even the relationship between the plum lady and the parasite who actually loves her is food for thought. I thought this was a splendid novel and offered substance as well as entertainment.Now, the reason why this novel spoke so deeply to me is because even though it is couched in mythical and fairy tale terms in an alternate universe, the issues and themes of this novel are so very contemporary. I read this novel by George Bowering called Shoot! which dealt with the downward spiral of a gang of outlaws who were mostly half-English and half-First Nations. Both that novel and this one showed the stigma that is attached with being a mix of two races who are at odds with each other. Both show how unfairly the child is treated simply because he or she is a mix. You may think that this is an old fashioned concern but a look around at the “Happa” culture will soon show you otherwise. Old prejudices still exist and are difficult to break and The Peculiar is a very admirable way of letting children learn about different people and encourage them to accept these people.I recommend this novel most strongly.

  • Karissa
    2019-05-09 01:27

    I have wanted to read this book for some time. I ended up picking it up off of the dollar table at one of my son’s book fairs at school. It ended up being a wonderful steampunk middle grade novel with magic and mystery.This book takes place in an alternate London where fae unwillingly fell into our world. The story follows two characters; the first is Bartholomew Kettle, who lives with his mother and sister in the faery slums of Bath. Bartholomew is a Peculiar, half fae and half human. When he sees a strange woman in a rich plum dress he is determined to find out the mystery behind her. The other character is Arthur Jellyby who is on the London council. Arthur just wants to coast through life unnoticed and unbothered, however he ends up drawn into a mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peculiars that puts him in contact with Bartholomew.I loved the lush and descriptive writing. This book is all about the moody atmospheric setting; the descriptive writing makes all of the scenes really come alive so that you feel like you are walking the streets of this strange and peculiar London.There is some excellent world building here and I really loved the idea of a London where faery had unwillingly taken residence. It’s a very creative idea and very well done. I love that you never know what kind of fae you will see next wandering the streets of this book.This is one of the first middle grade steampunk books I have ever read and it was well done. There are a lot of fun steampunk elements in here.Probably my biggest issue with the story was that I had a bit of trouble engaging with the characters. I just am not all that sympathetic to the characters and their plight; they come off as a bit dry. I also thought the story ended very abruptly. I didn’t realize that this was part of a series, but even knowing that now the ending to this book just seems very unfinished...which is a shame.Overall this was a well done middle grade steampunk novel. I enjoyed the world-building and the wonderfully descriptive writing. I did have some trouble engaging with the characters though. I would recommend to middle grade and older readers who love mysteries with some fantasy in them; especially to those who are interested in the steampunk genre. I personally am not sure if I will continue reading the series.

  • C.J. Milbrandt
    2019-05-27 00:27

    In an England irrevocably marked by war against the Sidhe, Bartholomew Kettle must hide from prying eyes because of what he is. A changeling, born with both human and faery blood. Cowering in his mother's dingy apartment day in and day out is bad enough. But matters take a turn for the worse when he witnesses a kidnapping. Someone is snatching changelings, and he might be next.A tense mystery in a steampunk setting with a decidedly morbid atmosphere. The vibe is gothic horror, and Bachmann's storytelling has a creepy slant, with unsettling imagery. Perfect for keeping readers on the edge of their seat. Fair warning: vivid descriptions of nightmarish creatures, sly and vicious methods, two-faced deceit, mass bigotry, violent fight sequences, A Dickens-y plight of downtrodden, deaths, and fleeting descriptions of serial killings. Yes, this is middlegrade, but I wouldn't recommend it to sensitive readers. Excellent storytelling *and* character development. I purchased this book for the home shelf along with its sequel, THE WHATNOT.

  • Aparajitabasu
    2019-05-01 00:19

    Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - hereThe cover draws you in..... doesn't it. Presenting The Peculiar #1 The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.Here is the summary of the book:Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.Of the fey and of the classics, The Peculiars is a brand new and exuberant look to these creatures of magic. An imaginative and creative world successfully illustrated through the words of a young mind. And that vibrant cover is just the cherry on top that sets the show on the road. Stefan Bachmann ties together gothic and steampunk with his middle grade fantasy and that lyrical tone of the written word is just enough to the set the mood for both the genre and the era.In an incident that changes the course of the history of the world. Faeries are very much alive and real and now living with the humans, trapped and away from their home. Set in the faery slums of Bath. This is the story of Bartholomew and Henrietta "Hettie" Kettle. Both changelings, half-human, half-fey and forever more hidden by their mother because if you get yourself noticed, you get hanged. And all Barty and Hettie want is to belong......But things are set in motion that have the potential of changing the course of the world. Such untoward acts happen and its not only Barty but also Hettie whose life is in danger. Faeries may not be accepted but half-faeries are neither. And the world at stake, it is an unlikely parliament member, who may be the only ally they have.This is by no means a common tale and its characters by no means are common folks. Barty is a complex and dynamic character. The Victorian era is by no means a child's play and life as a changeling in the slums is not either. With a sister who has branches for hair, no father and a mother always keeping them hidden. Just like the children of his age, he just wants to belong and play with little ones his age .... a wish that very well takes its toll.With a solid foundation and profound world building. Bachmann forms together a world like no other. There is the high airs of the aristocracy and the hard life of the slums. Categorized as a middle grade, this is a tale as original as any and can be read and enjoyed by people of all ages."Stefan Bachmann breathes new life into the Faery with his youthful mind"

  • nettebuecherkiste
    2019-05-12 19:03

    Bath, irgendwann im 19. Jahrhundert. Bartholomew Kettle und seine Schwester Hettie sind Mischlinge – ihr Vater ist ein Sídhe, ein Feenwesen, ihre Mutter ein Mensch. Sie leben mit ihrer menschlichen Mutter in einem heruntergekommenen Viertel von Bath, wo die meisten Feenwesen leben, sie stellen die Unterschicht der Gesellschaft dar. Doch Mischlinge werden von beiden Seiten angefeindet. So sehr, dass Bartholomew und Hettie, bei der ihre Feenherkunft besonderes offensichtlich ist, kaum vor die Tür gehen dürfen. “Die Seltsamen” werden die Mischlinge genannt. Dann werden plötzlich Mischlingskinder sogar ermordet. Eine vornehme Dame in einem pflaumenfarbenen Kleid, die im Viertel auftaucht, scheint etwas damit zu tun zu haben. Unterdessen gerät der Parlamentsabgeordnete Arthur Jelliby in London ungewollt mit dem Justizminister, dem ersten Sídhe in einer solchen Position, aneinander. Auch er scheint irgendwie verwickelt zu sein.Stefan Bachmann zählt C. S. Lewis und Charles Dickens zu seinen größten literarischen Einflüssen und hat außerdem eine Vorliebe für Steampunk. Alle drei Elemente sind in seinem Debütroman deutlich zu spüren, gleichzeitig hat er eine ganz eigene Welt erschaffen. Denn seine Feenwesen sind keine schönen, ätherischen Kreaturen, sie sind an die keltische Feenwelt angelehnt und ganz unterschiedlich, teilweise böse, und meistens eher hässlich. Sie haben die Welt der Menschen durch ein Portal betreten, das nun geschlossen ist, und es gab erst einmal auch einen Krieg mit den Menschen. Soweit der Fantasy-Aspekt. Die Feenwesen sind, wie bereits in der Kurzbeschreibung erwähnt, am unteren Rande der anschließend entstandenen Gesellschaft angesiedelt, sie leben oft in ärmsten Verhältnissen, so auch Bartholomew und seine Schwester, die ebenfalls offen als eher hässlich beschrieben werden und auch daher ungewöhnliche Helden sind. Darin ist Dickens’ Einfluss deutlich zu spüren. Die Menschen haben sich außerdem alle möglichen mechanischen Apparaturen ausgedacht, die ihnen die Arbeit abnehmen, Kutschen werden etwa von mechanischen Pferden gezogen. Steampunk pur! Die Geschichte spielt dementsprechend auch im 19. Jahrhundert, aber die Welt ist eine ganz andere. So gibt es in Amerika etwa noch die britischen Kolonien. Das hat mich auch ein wenig an die Parallelwelt im ersten Teil der “His Dark Materials”-Trilogie von Philipp Pullman erinnert.Gerade dieses Steampunk-Element, das etwas Neues für mich war, hat mich besonders fasziniert. Die Geschichte ist orginell, die Charaktere sind verschroben, aber liebenswürdig, und das Ganze läuft auf einen Showdown hinaus, der in einem teilweisen Cliffhanger endet. Auch sprachlich hat mich das Buch überzeugt, wobei ich immer wieder dachte, dass ich schon gern das Original gelesen hätte. Es hat mich doch ziemlich erstaunt, wie gekonnt Stefan Bachmann in einem so jungen Alter schreiben konnte. Bei der Lesung auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse betonte er, er sei eben kein “Wunderkind”, er habe sich seinen Schreibstil hart erarbeiten müssen. Er muss sehr früh angefangen haben, um dieses Niveau zu erreichen, wirklich toll.Ich freu mich schon richtig auf den zweiten Teil und eine erneute Reise in diese spannende Welt!

  • Brandy Painter
    2019-04-26 00:11

    Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.Ancient Faery lore brought into an alternate history/steampunk world? Was there any doubt that I would want to read a book with all that? Noooo. (Also the cover. Look at that cover. It's beautiful.) I'm happy to say The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann did not disappoint.Let me start by saying Bachmann can write. Oh can he ever. Exactly the right amount of description, vivid imagery, excellent plotting. The story is fast paced and, like all the best fantasies, doesn't condescend to its readers. You get your information as you need it. Which means that in the beginning the reader is confused and feels a bit jerked around (at least I did), but it doesn't matter because this perfectly reflects the feelings and knowledge of the main characters. Bachmann has created a world in which the Faeries stumbled into our world through a door that shouldn't have opened (decimating all of Bath in the process) and are now trapped. The humans and faeries have to live side by side as best they can, and their best isn't so great. A costly war decided who would be in charge. The greatest victims of this are the peculiars, half-human and half-faerie, they are hated by both groups. Most peculiars don't live to see adulthood. The politics are complicated. The Sidhe have worked their way into high government positions and are yet not content with what this world that isn't their own has to offer. They could not forget that they had once been lords and ladies in great halls of their own. They could not forgive. The English might have won the Smiling War, but there were other ways to fight. A word could cause a riot, ink could spell a man's death, and the Sidhe knew those weapons like the backs of their hands. Oh yes, the knew.The world building is excellent and the story one that had me longing for more from start to finish. Even at the end I longed for more. (Book two should be coming out next year!)The story is told in third person, but shifts perspectives between the peculiar Bartholomew and a young parliament member, Arthur Jelliby. The way the story shifts (and the places it shifts) makes you want to keep reading. Both Arthur and Bartholomew are flawed characters who act in heroic ways. Despite themselves at times. The one thing that held me back from unequivocally loving the book in a passionate and intense way was that, while I found both characters likable enough, I didn't really connect with either of them emotionally. I felt a bit removed from their story until almost the very end. I'm hoping this will change with the second installment and I will love that one even more. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys inventive twists to old folklore or just really loves a beautifully told story.

  • Stefi Napoleone
    2019-05-03 21:20

    Un libro steampunk con magia tiene que ser genial. ¡Y lo es!La idea del libro es la siguiente: en una Inglaterra alternativa hace muchos años se abrió un portal que conectó el mundo antiguo de los duendes con el mundo humano. Después de una gran batalla los humanos, el portal se cerró, y obligaron a los duendes a convivir con ellos manteniendo su magia a raya. Se logró una convivencia más o menos civilizada, pero a los hijos de un duende y un humano se los considera parias y se los conoce como sustitutos o distintos. De un día para el otro aparecen los cadáveres de varios niños distintos en el Támesis, vacíos y con la piel llena de marcas.Bartolomeo y su hermana son dos distintos que viven ocultos en un barrio pobre. Un día el chico ve cómo se llevan a su vecino de enfrente y, cuando va a investigar, accidentalmente se ve arrastrado a un lugar desconocido del que vuelve lleno de cicatrices. A partir de entonces se da cuenta de que él y su hermana están en peligro. Por otro lado, Arturo Jelliby pertenece al Consejo Secreto, una especie de gabinete que bien podría ser equivalente al Congreso para nosotros, aunque la política no le interesa para nada. Accidentalmente escucha una conversación que no debería haber oído y que le revela ciertas cosas sobre la muerte de los niños distintos. Y así es como un político inocente y un niño marginado deberán enfrentarse a una aventura muy peligrosa.El libro me encantó. Tiene un aire a Neil Gaiman y Jelliby me hizo acordar al protagonista de Neverwhere. En la Inglaterra en la que se desarrolla la historia todo está mecanizado, es una clásica ciudad de los libros de género steampunk y me gustaron las descripciones. Te sitúan perfectamente en los distintos escenarios de la historia. Podía imaginármelo todo. También los personajes son muy peculiares (esto es especialmente lo que me hizo acordar a Gaiman). Las personalidades están desarrolladas, no son “genéricos”. Se lee rapidísimo porque todo ocurre bastante rápido y te engancha mucho. Es uno de esos libros donde uno se sorprende pensando “¿ya leí 100 páginas?” porque te desconecta de la realidad y te mete de lleno en la historia. Literalmente en un momento paré de leer y cuando retomé la lectura a los 15 minutos me sorprendía que estuviera leyendo un libro y no mirando una película.Está buenísimo y espero que saquen a la venta los que siguen en Argentina (por lo que tengo entendido es una trilogía). Bonus track: la portada es genial y sí, ese pájaro mecánico aparece en la historia.

  • Bailey
    2019-05-27 01:20

    He didn't care if the faeries hated him, or the people feared him. He was stronger than them.In a different kind of world where people and faeries collide, magic is waiting to happen. It is here that Bartholomew Kettle, a Peculiar, lives in the faery slums. Like any other Peculiar, he is looked down upon and shunned. His life is formed by following the most important rule he knows: Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. While his life has not been easy, he still holds on. Residing in an apartment with his mother and younger Peculiar sister, Hettie, he hopes to find the one thing he believes he can never have: a friend. When he sees the only boy he can call a companion, his neighbor who lives across the street, taken by a woman in plum, his life spins out of control. He has not only witnessed a kidnapping, but he has also been seen by the same woman in plum. Soon his sister is taken away from him and his mother. It is now up to him to find her. With the help of Arthur Jelliby, a man who wishes to go unseen as well, they set out into a dangerous world that may just fall apart at the seams. Will they find Hettie? Is it possible that they will find out why so many Peculiars are being taken and murdered? Can they put a stop to the mysterious and evil Mr. Lickerish who plays apart in all of this? Find all this out and more in the wonderful book, Peculiar, by Stefan Bachmann!I have to say that this book was beautifully written. Bachmann created a vivid and vibrant place that added a special element that no other book has. The eerie and creepy feel to The Peculiar naturally drew me in along with the imaginative and colorful characters. I am happy to say that I have never read a book quite like this one! Now I just have to get my hands on the second installment!You can also read this review and more like it at http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.com/( http://knightingalereviews.blogspot.c...)

  • Kim McGee
    2019-05-25 20:21

    I loved the inventive story of this young author's debut. Stefan Bachmann wrote this when he was 16 and it is a lovely combination of gothic horror, steampunk (for all you Leviathan fans)and fairy tale. Bartholomew and his sister Hettie live in Bath where there has been an ethnic cleansing of sorts - someone is killing all the changlings and the children have gone into hiding. Bartholomew wishes for a domestic fairy against the wishes of his mum. When Hettie is taken, Bartholomew must find her and put an end to the killings. With him is a lonely government man, Mr. Jelliby who feels he must summon all his courage to save the children and the woman in plum. The fairy population of London is helping the evil Privy Council member, Mr. Lickerish, gather up the children and purge them. There are mechanical contraptions galore and magical creatures that live in the wonderful imagination of Stefan Bachmann and I am glad he has shared them with us. This is the first of what I hope to be many more volumes. The book will be out for the world on Tuesday, September 18th.

  • Beth
    2019-05-09 21:26

    The Peculiar is wonderfully written and the worldbuilding is inventive and excellent. I do find its London reminiscent of Jonathan Stroud's London, with its fey and its Parliament, and I think the tone is similar as well - there's almost a playfulness, a love of its exciting world, circling the building dread - but it's a tone found so rarely that I welcomed it gladly.The characterization was a bit weak, but it was redeemed by the sense that the characters were swept up in a rush of inevitability, that they were bystanders, that nothing they would do could sway the course of events. That may change in subsequent sequels (of course there are sequels - and a cliffhanger) when they're given something to do beyond being the reader's eyes and ears. I liked The Peculiar a lot (I don't want my criticism to suggest otherwise) but the characters didn't stand out to me as much as the worldbuilding and the tone.

  • Ticklish Owl
    2019-05-03 19:12

    This was like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (one of my favorite books) for a younger audience. I look forward to reading more from this author.If you liked this book, you might also enjoy: ✱ The Hunchback Assignments✱ Blackbringer✱ The Folk Keeper

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-26 19:24

    This book was recommended to you by Wanda“Described as Mr Norrel for kids with a dash of the Bartimeus trilogy. Oh boy!”sounds just my thing for a mid winter snuggled up read.17.02,2014: dropped this down from wishlist to maybe

  • Aline Ramos
    2019-05-04 00:57

    Muito criativo e diferente.

  • The Rusty Key
    2019-05-19 23:06

    Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen Recommended for: Both boys and girls, ages 10 and up if they’re particularly strong readers, but more generally, 12 and up for moderate violence against children and overall complexity of plot.One Word Summary: Cinematic. Eighteen year-old Stefan Bachmann said that when he was sixteen and began writing The Peculiar he simply wanted to create a story that he would have loved when he was a kid. Having read those words in a letter from the publisher of Greenwillow Books in the first pages of my advanced reader copy of Bachmann’s work, I began sharpening my knives. The cover is, after all, emblazoned with praise from Christopher Paolini, another child prodigy whose Eldest series I (and many) found to be so derivative of the greatest works in children’s fantasy that it bordered on outright plagiarism. Was this Bachmann yet another precocious wunderkind here to ply us with a literary piecemeal patchwork, remarkable only for its author’s youth? Within pages the answer was clear: No. Where Paolini’s books redundantly trod through the paces of classic children’s literature, The Peculiar took flight in a new direction, full of joy and alive with a palpable sense of the author’s delight.The Peculiar takes place in a re-imagined version of industrial era England in which humans live alongside several races of faerie whom they’ve subjugated. The first chapter presents us with a history in which the city of Bath was consumed by hoards of vicious fae folk who tumbled from a portal in the sky one day. The city was overtaken, the people slaughtered, and the door through which the faeries entered our world disappeared. Whether by design or by accident no one could say for sure, but these savage bands of gnomes, goblins, elves and more were clearly now here to stay. A successful counter attack was launched by the humans, but once the faeries were subdued the question became, what to do with these multitudes of strange, violent, altogether sentient creatures who were now stranded in our world?Now in the story’s present we find the faeries living as an exploited underclass. While several of the more culturally assimilated fae folk hold offices within the British Parliament, the majority of them live in slums, outcast and virtually enslaved. Bartholomew Kettle, a little boy living in one of Bath’s faerie ghettos, occupies the lowest rung on the societal totem pole: he and his little sister Hettie are changelings, half human, half faerie, and rejected by both races as an abomination. Their human mother has raised them ever since their fae father ran off one day, and she insists that the children live in near total isolation, always in hiding for fear of being caught and hanged by a mob. But one day, Bartholomew witnesses something terrible. From his little attic window, the changeling boy watches as a human woman dressed all in purple abducts another changeling boy who lives in a house across the way. She disappears in a torrent of black feathers leaving only a faerie ring of mushrooms behind her. In London we meet Arthur Jelliby, a kindly, doddering fellow who happens to be a member of Parliament. Hapless and lacking in ambition, Jelliby was perfectly content to simply enjoy the perks of his position and remain largely ineffectual. But of course, one day his destiny finds him. The bodies of changeling children have been washing up on the shores of the Thames river, hollowed out and covered in strange markings. While certainly sorry about this, Jelliby has had little contact with fae folk, outside of his seldom associations with John Lickerish, a faerie and a fellow member of Parliament. While at Lickerish’s house for a routine courtesy meeting, Jelliby stumbles upon evidence that implicates Lickerish in a conspiracy relating to the dead changeling children and finds he can no longer hide behind his waffling docility. What is Lickerish up to? Who is the woman in purple? What purpose do these dead children serve? How long will the faeries sit idly by in a society that abhors them? Questions abound. The Peculiar, in spite of its dark premise, is a tremendous amount of fun, thanks entirely to the spirit that Bachmann infuses it with. This is a sooty, dangerous, rancorous world, but also is one that buzzes with magic and fascination. He has a stellar talent for evocative names and objects. Bachmann’s descriptions of a faerie shop that contained things like ‘Sorrow Wine’ and ‘Distillation of Hate’, and candies that taste like ‘Starlight’ and ‘Icicles’ could have held my attention for whole chapters. The greatest strength of The Peculiar is the richness of its detail and how visual it is. I wanted to be inside this world and to see it with my own eyes because what I could see in my imagination was so clear and so exciting. It would make a fabulous movie and we can only hope that Martin Freeman will be available to take up the role of Arthur Jelliby, a part that seems nearly to have been written for him.Bachmann is a very well informed writer, and I don’t just mean for his age. The complexities of the social structure of this world, and the political conspiracy that takes place within it are very sophisticated, drawing on real-world parallels from Apartheid to Colonialism. When the story drives the characters to ‘The Goblin Market’, a literal marketplace run by goblins, but also, a nod to Christina Rosseti’s 1862 narrative poem about human women falling pray to the seduction of the fae folk, my little Victorian Lit loving heart grew three sizes. I tip my cap to you, sir.It wasn’t until I reached the last fifty pages of the book that I realized this was clearly meant to be the first in a series. My advanced copy made no mention of that fact, and I have to hope that the final printed book will be more explicit, for my only criticisms had to do with the book’s pacing. It seemed to take a very long time to get our main characters in the same place at the same time. Once they were united I felt I didn’t have enough time with them, as their dynamic was immediately engaging and pulled me deeper into the story. Similarly, I didn’t feel I had enough time with Bartholomew to really understand him. His thoughts and actions were predominantly tied to the main action of the plot, and I would have liked to have seen more of his character and personality under less dire circumstances. However, both of these criticisms are explained by the fact that the story is not yet finished.A fresh, lilting, jubilant treat, The Peculiar is no childish rehashing. Bachmann’s story shares the same life-blood as all those stories he read and loved as a kid: an unfiltered sense of wonderment. For more reviews, author interviews, reading lists and articles from The Rusty Key, visit us at www.therustykey.com

  • Heather Hansen
    2019-05-16 20:15

    This book is right up my alley! I love the steampunk and fantasy elements! It takes a little bit to catch on to the vocabulary used (fantasy and British), but keep going - it's worth it!

  • Shanshad Whelan
    2019-05-17 19:03

    In a world where a cataclysmic event triggered the arrival of the fae in Britain 100s of years prior, the country has done its level best to mitigate the damages of magic after winning the war against the fae folk by introducing mechanical, gear laden technology to their country and putting the fairies and goblins to work in factories, until they become just one more faction of British society. Our main protagonists are a young "changeling" (in this book meaning half fae, half human)boy and a young nobleman who just happens to find himself in a position to discover a plot against Britain and mankind in general. This is an unusual offering in terms of middle grade fantasy. Steampunk is a fairly rare animal in this age range, as is urban fantasy of this kind. While I've seen many adult urban fantasies that feature some kind of cataclysmic event that have "brought magic back" or exiled the fae to the human world, or something similar, it's not a topic much covered in children's fantasy. I was excited and curious by the opportunity to read this, but after getting through the book, I find myself more than a little disappointed.Firstly, this has been pegged as a middle grade read. While reading it, I kept questioning whether it really fit the bill for middle grade. The book assumes the reader has some familiarity with Britain and the British ruling system of the time period. It also spends long passages dealing with completely adult characters. Most noteworthy of these is Mr Jelliby, who is described as a bit of an unambitious mild man for whom the idea of becoming a hero is somewhat unpalatable. Yet he steps up to the challenge in this story. I just felt so much of the concerns in the tale were too adult. Not too mature, but just not things that most kids would find relevant. The violence is very gruesome at times, and our villains are not only unrepentant, but disturbingly dour. I think this would take a very high level reader who is a fan of steampunk and urban fantasy to appreciate the story.Secondly, I still don't feel I know the characters. Our main protagonist, a boy who is half human, half fae. We know so little about him--what are his hopes and dreams? How has he survived all these years, why was he born at all? (Clearly his mother had been willing enough to have children with a fae father twice, but why does that father not live with them or help them?). Even though the boy is out to rescue his sister, we don't know either that well, and at first we really don't see the attachment he has to his sister. The other characters all seem drawn at a distance, we never really get to know any of them except, perhaps, for the rat-fairy. When I read a story it is important that I care enough about the characters to see them through the story events. Thirdly, there are a lot of unexplained parts of this story that have me tugging at loose threads. How did the first fairy door happen that led to the fae being in Britain and why did it close again? Are the fae only in Britain or are they spread out world wide. Clearly, the fae must have been made citizens, if there are fairies on the council, but it's never made clear when and how this has happened. We don't know much about the culture of fae themselves. Do they live just like humans? Why do some of them seem to have so much magic left and others so little? Why would the government in particular have so little protection against magic working? The descriptions of fairies seems to indicate they really are very inhuman, yet they manage to have children with humans. I find this really odd, and not very well explained. Given the description of many of these creatures, it's difficult to think they could create a child by any means other than intentional magic. And if these children are intentional, why aren't they better cared for and protected in the city?I don't know, there are a lot of issues I have with this. However, the world building is decent enough, and hopefully the characters can be improved given time in the next book. There is a lot of promise to the writing here and the author clearly has potential and imagination on his side. This book won't appeal to everyone, but may capture the imaginations of a smaller group of fans who will look forward to reading the further adventures of our characters. Certainly it takes a risk and tries something different, which is more than I can say for many fantasy books for children.

  • Dark Faerie Tales
    2019-05-14 21:02

    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A creative and wonderful world told through a youthful mind but enjoyable by all.Opening Sentence: Feathers fell from the sky.Excerpt: YesThe Review:There is something about the cover of Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar that draws me in. This Middle Grade fantasy book has the promises of greatness, and I was very lucky to have received a copy for review. With all of the great praises of this debut, it was a surprise to hear that Bachmann wrote this at the age of 16. The Peculiar is filled with dark gothic elements, mixed with steampunk details and tied together in a fantasy-esque fairy tale.The Peculiar begins in Bath, where Bartholomew (Barty) and Hettie Kettle in an alternate Victorian version of the town. They live a solemn life, secluded from the rest of society. They are both hidden away from their mother, afraid to let their identities be known to the public. Barty and Hettie are Peculiars, changelings, half human and half fey. Both of the Kettle children long to belong and to be noticed, but alas it will never happen.Faeries live throughout the world, unintentionally trapped in our world and kept away from theirs. Paths will cross as Barty witnesses a kidnapping, one that will endanger not only his life, but Hettie’s as well. While Faeries are not accepted in this alternate world, neither are changelings. Now a target for incoming danger, Barty’s only hope is an unlikely Parliament member.Barty is a great character, filled with complexity and layers. As a peculiar, he has had his work cut out for him. His father left him, his mother fears discovery, and his sister, well she has branches for hair. Barty lives a hard life, but doesn’t seem to be phased by any of it. Barty longs to belong, like many young children do, and in the world that Bachmann has created, in the midst of The Peculiar’s version of prejudices, it’s not a surprise.The Peculiar has an amazing world, filled with imaginative details. In this alternate and unique world, Bachmann creates this very tangible and concrete setting for a not-so common story. Bachmann gives life to the characters, allowing for a very solid foundation to build on. The rich dialogue, the youthful humor, the grown up dark and creepy elements – they all add to the reasons why you should read The Peculiar. I must admit that the beginning of the book is a little slow, but Bachmann makes up for it in every other way.Bachmann is a fantastic writer, and for his age, he has a lot of talent. To come up with this extraordinary world filled with complex characters and a well-thought out and well-paced plot, is simply short of amazing. There is originality that seeps out of his typing (or writing) fingers and I cannot wait to read more from him. The Peculiar is a great fantasy, mixed with science fiction elements. And I must say, despite The Peculiar being categorized as a “middle grade” book, readers of all ages will enjoy this book.Notable Scene:A spasm passed over lady’s face, a flicker under the surface of her skin, and suddenly her expression was no longer blank. Her eyes fixed on Mr. Jelliby’s through the glass. He could see them now, shining bright and full of pain. Then her red lips parted and she was speaking in a creamy soft voice that held the faintest trace of an accent. “It is only the woodwork, my lords. It expands in the head of the day.”Her voice stopped, but she continued to stare at Mr. Jelliby, and her mouth continued to move. It formed two words. Two soundless words, just once, and they rang clear as crystal in his head.Help me.FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of The Peculiar. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

  • Jocelyn (foxonbooks)
    2019-04-26 02:24

    Sometime around the 19th century, the faeries came to England. "Goblins and satyrs, gnomes, sprites and the elegant, spindly white beings with their black, black eyes." The Smiling War between the humans and the fae was so-called because of the sheer number of grinning, white skulls it left behind in the fields. But in the end even the faeries' magic was no match for the numbers of red-coated soldiers sent against them with cannon and gunpowder, and the remaining Hidden People were relocated to Bath, where they would live in slums, defeated and ostracised. After a time, they became simply another facet of England, living in the cities, "no worse off than the thousands of human poor that toiled by their side." But the high faeries, the Sidhe, were by no means satisfied with their lot. They bided their time, plotting and patient.I can hardly tell you how much I adored this book. It is without a doubt the best new young adult fantasy book I've come across this year, for a myriad of reasons. Rave Commencing:Firstly, while fae have been explored in a lot of books recently, I've not seen it combined with a modern steampunk society before, wherein clockwork has been found to act "as a sort of antidote" to faerie magic. It's original and perfectly executed.Secondly, the language throughout this novel is exquisite. The names are wonderful: one of our protagonists is a Mr Arthur Jelliby, and the other Bartholemew Kettle. We also meet a John Wednesday Lickerish, an Earl of Fitzwatler (complete with a Walrus moustache), a Lord Lillicrapp, a Mr Throgmorton and (wait for it) an Xerxes Yardley Zerubbabel. Amazing.The writing itself is also outstanding. Bachmann has ethereal descriptions of the ordinary nestling together with completely matter-of-fact observations of the extraordinary. He is equally adept at fitting his language to the chilling, the hilarious and the tragic, and uses smells and sounds as well as sights to paint an engrossing scene. I very rarely take notes as I'm reading, but in this case I couldn't help myself, I have pages and pages of gorgeous language scrawled down. I'll limit myself to only a few examples..."That was the blank, disbelieving face of someone with so much grief locked up inside her that she didn't know what to do with it, someone with a barb in her heart no amount of crying or screaming could ever dull." (Page 43)"He owed it to her to do something. He supposed he could rescue her. Very subtly, of course. There was no need to be all gallant about it." (Page 64)"Honey-coloured light drifted down from the slit of sky. Across the way, the Buddelbinster's house stood hunched around itself." (Page 43)Ah, I could do that all day. But I still need to tell you about the third reason I loved this book, namely the characterisation. Arthur Jelliby is priceless - he's an absolutely lovely upper class British gentleman who works in government. All he wants is to be uninformed and uninfluential, affable and overlooked. His greatest dread is having to know dangerous things, because he might then be forced to do something about it; which is indeed the case. Bartholemew is sweet and naive, brave and loyal, optimistic and not nearly jaded enough to reflect his upbringing. The two make a great, reluctant duo and are the cornerstone of this incredible tale.This book is a must-read. Seriously: do it. You won't regret discovering Stefan Bachmann's world. I lived there for only a day in real time, but it feels like I've known his characters for a lifetime. A phenomenal debut.Steampunk. Faerie. An incredible cast, a wonderfully vivid world, an amazing adventure. Please read this one, okay??