Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: The Peculiar

Today I'm thrilled to welcome my mom Pam back to the blog to wow us all once again with her reviewing prowess. I'm having a blast including both my mom and my mother-in-law Cathy (who will be reviewing tomorrow) in this blogging adventure, and I'm hoping I can get them to contribute with more regularity moving forward. It may take some persuading, but I'm on it ;-) Take it away Mom!

THE PECULIAR
Stefan Bachmann
Middle Grade/Steampunk
384 pages
Greenwillow Books
Available now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.


PAM'S THOUGHTS
A vastly entertaining, fast moving steampunk adventure novel, The Peculiar is packed with suspense, magic, intrigue and murder. In his well-written debut novel, Stefan Bachmann displays his creative literary talents through his command of similes and metaphors, allowing readers of any age to immerse themselves visually and emotionally into a unique fantasy world with unforgettable characters. Bachmann has a remarkable gift for one so young, as he was only sixteen years old when he wrote this inspired book.

The main character, Bartholomew Kettle, labeled a “peculiar” – a changeling that is half-human and half-faery – is loathed by both faery and human societies in a supernatural, clockwork version of Victorian England. Peculiars are to be killed on sight and buried under elderberry bushes as a preventative measure should their ugliness be contagious. Knowing no other existence but fear and hate, Bartholomew and his younger beloved sister, Hettie, suffer from the cruelty and isolation resulting from this tension between classes. Witnessing the kidnapping of several changeling children and learning of the violent death of others, Bartholomew has the opportunity to play an extraordinary role in both changing his life as well as the dark, dangerous world in which he lives.
 

Amid the seemingly relentless darkness and death, the author treats the reader to moments of brightness by watching Bartholomew grow and mature from an extremely frightened, self possessed child to a determined one, displaying a tenderness of heart in his avid pursuit to protect his mother and sister’s lives at the risk of his own. Through his adventures he also learns to trust and befriend a mortal enemy, a human.
 

An amazing, highly imaginative book that will keep readers of all ages enthralled. Definitely recommended and his sequel will be eagerly awaited.
 

Rating: 4.5/5

46 comments:

  1. Kyaaaaaaaaa!! Im so jumping on this one soon! Plus it was also chosen as one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly! =9
    Wonderful review my dear Jenny, like always!

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    1. I did not know that! My mom loved it though, I hope you like it as much as she did:)

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  2. Yay, I love that you're getting the mothers involved more! This is yet another positive review I've read for The Peculiars and that's exciting! I love steampunk, and I especially like that this one is extra creative and the writing is so well done. Great, great review, Pam!

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    1. It's fun for me to have them participate in the blog. They come to BEA with me and signings and everything:)

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  3. Great review Pam. Talent runs in your family!!!!
    So interesting that the author was only 16, inspiring!

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  4. I love that you're including your Mom in your blog. It's so much fun! And her reviews are actually pretty great! Hopefully she'll agree to write some more :) Here's a thought: you should interview her about her book tastes and just on who she is as a person so we could get to know her a little better + it's always adorable to watch daughters and Mothers interact with each other.

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    1. I hope she'll write some more too! And the interview is a good idea, maybe I'll interview the Moms together and introduce them:)

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    2. :O That'd be awesome! I always like hearing what people from different age groups like to read, who makes their hearts beat faster, which books get them through a bad day etc. That'd be loads of fun to read about!

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  5. Hello Jenny's mom!!! Awesome review. I love steampunk books and this story is just what I am looking for.

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    1. This was her first taste of steampunk, I think she liked it:)

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  6. MOM! Great review. Love the steampunk of this one and that it's a middle grade, too. Definitely a new genre for those 'uns. I really want to read this one!

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    1. Oh yes, it's the week of the Moms. They're both taking over the blog with their awesomeness:)

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  7. Pam, you must contribute more reviews! This one was great. :)

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    1. Right? I'm going to just keep giving her books:)

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  8. Hi Pam! It was great meeting you at BEA. I got The Peculiar at BEA but still haven't read it. I'm intrigued, because it sounds like it deals with serious themes but still manages to keep it MG

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    1. She really seemed to enjoy this one - her first taste of steampunk:)

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  9. I have had this on my wishlist since before it came out but still haven't been able to get it. It sounds amazing though and your review has me even more anxious to get my hands on it!

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    1. I say that about so many books, there just aren't enough hours in the day!

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  10. I can see where you get your writing skills, Jenny. I was eyeing this book a couple of weeks ago, it looks interesting and sounds interesting. I am glad your mom did the run down for me! So fun to have her on the blog!

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    1. Thanks Heidi! I thought my mom did a fabulous job:)

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  11. Awesome review, Pam! I love the sound of this one. Steampunk is a relatively new genre for me but I do love exploring it. This sounds like everything I want in a great read. Looking forward to reading it soon!

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    1. Steampunk is one I love exploring too:) Sometimes all the technology can overwhelm me, but it's such a cool world to be in for a little while:)

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  12. This sounds perfect for a cousin of mine and I think I'd love to read it as well. I love the way the character grows and that is one of my fave things about stories like this. Oh brilly review!

    *waves* Hi Pam... Jenny's mom! :)

    Jenny... what is your secret? I can't even get my mom to consider writing for my blog.

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    1. I'm super lucky the Moms have both been really great sports about the blog - they not only read it, but they attend bookish events with me and are now trying their hand at the reviews. Love it:)

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  13. PAM!!!!!! *runs for a hug* I have missed you!!! And I soo agree with Jenny, you and Cathy can totally review more! I just love seeing your guys here!

    And, what an exciting book you picked! While I am not a MG fan, with you and Pushy both loving it so much I might have to read it after all!!

    Oh and now I see where Jenny has her way with word from- loved your review!
    *hugs again*

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    1. My mom wanted to respond to you Danny, but the whole commenting thing intimidates her and she comes up as anonymous because she doesn't have an account, so I'm passing along her love for you:)

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  14. You had me at the mention of a supernatural, clockwork Victorian England! This book sounds truly fantastic and I don't think I have yet come across a negative review. Great job, Pam!

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    1. I've been hearing only good things as well:) I don't read much MG, but this seems like it kind of straddles the MG/YA line, so I think I'd like it:)

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  15. I've seen this one around a lot lately and it definitely seems as if I can't miss it. I love the cover and the steampunk elements sound like something I'd just love! Great review, Pam! :)

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    1. I adore this cover too Keertana! So fun:)

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  16. It looks so much like a movie poster :)

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  17. I love fantasy and this one sounds like a great mix of supernatural and steampunk. I don't read much middle grade...but this sounds like one that should defintely be on my shortlist for wwhen I next do.

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  18. To all: many warm thanks for your kind and supportive comments! You're all very sweet.

    To my Jen: a HUGE thank you for inviting me to write this and encouraging me all the way. It was an honor and I loved doing it! You're the best. EVER.

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  19. If you call it amazing then I know I must get it.

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    1. My mom and I tend to love the same books, so I know if she enjoyed it, it's almost a sure bet I would too:)

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  20. Oooh this sounds so awesomeee! I don't usually read MG books, but I think I'll have to give this one a try :) Great review Pam!<3

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  21. Pam that was an amazing review! I simply think you must contribute here more often :)

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  22. Way to go Pam, AKA Mrs. Jenny! I've met your daughter and she is one cool cat. That's so awesome that you are also into books. I look forward to reading more reviews from you.

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  23. I love that your mom is reviewing! How fun! Anyway, this book sounds great for my classroom. I like that it's a steampunk adventure- my students have been enjoying that kind of read. Plus, you had me at a clockwork version of Victorian England- love it!

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  24. Hi Jenny's mom!
    Wow, I didn't know the author was so young! I really enjoyed your review and concur with Jenny that you must review more often =)

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  25. Wow this sounds like a dark tale for a middle grade book. I don't have much success with middle grade but this sounds amazing. Wonderful review Pam. :)

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  26. I managed to finally get my hands on a copy of this and can't wait to read it since I love steampunk. And because it's a MG novel, I can share it with my younger cousins and brother :)

    Oh, and did you know that the music in the trailer of The Peculiar was written by Bachmann himself? Dude is seriously talented!

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