Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Peculiar (The Peculiar, #1)Title: The Peculiar 
Author: Stefan Bachmann
 Greenwillow Books 
Publishing Date: September 18th 2012
Pages: 384
Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy/Steampunk
Series: The Peculiar #1
Source: Audio 


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.

I have been trying to open op to more middle school age books and this one looked interesting. I took the chance and grabbed the audio. I want to say that I think it’s a good story but the book just wasn’t for me. I liked the plot, the concept, and the characters, but for some reason it didn’t work together well for me, the reason why, I love a great character driven story. This book had some great characters but was written more for the story than the characters, and though it was a very creative and unique story, it was just lacking for me.

The story is about two young Halflings, half human, half faery. They are called peculiars in this book and they don’t belong anywhere. The faeries don’t think they are good enough and the humans think they are trouble. Bartholomew and Hettie live with their mother hidden away in the house. Bartholomew looks human enough, but Hettie does not. Their mother loves them and wants to keep them safe. Therefore they are restricted to stay in the house out of view. Bartholomew dreams of leaving the house, making friends, and living a normal childhood. He sees interesting things and people outside his window and wants to escape into the real world. Looking out the window one day he sees a lady in a plum dress and sees her talking another Halfling away, he wants to be taken away, and in the process of looking he is noticed. This gets him and Hettie in a lot of trouble. In the meantime there are Peculiar children disappearing and then showing up dead. One man, Mr. Jelliby, decides to solve the mystery of the Peculiars abductions and deaths which leads to his world colliding with Bartholomew’s world.

This was a very well written and creative story. It just didn’t capture me. The world building was amazing and it was very interesting but it was a little slow and at times I was lost because it dragged. I found myself spacing at times from the story and then catching up. I love creative worlds and well written stories, but I have a hard time when the descriptions overrun the characters and stories. That is what happened to me in this book. As wonderful as the world created was, it could have been shortened in detail and more time spent on the characters and story, which were also wonderful, just not there enough to keep me invested in the story.

The characters were a wonderful addition to the story and I feel that I wasn’t given enough time to get to know them the way I would have liked. From what was there Mr. Jelliby was just a superb gentleman that had too much curiosity. I did enjoy his part in the story as an unusual hero. I also really liked Bartholomew and Hettie but feel like I only knew them by descriptions of their looks and a few amazing things they did throughout the story. Bartholomew is curious and kind to his sister. He tries to have good manners and behave for his mother but he can’t help but get himself in trouble. Hettie is quiet and reserved. I really wish I was given the chance to fall in love with the characters, as they seem to be pretty awesome in the rare moments I spent with them.
The pacing of the book is probably where I had the most trouble, the story dragged and I found myself having trouble staying grounded in the book. I often had thoughts of wishing the book would just hurry up and be over. 

I really don’t want to give a really bad impression of this book and this review was very hard for me to write. I think that this book is just right for many readers out there who love a book with fantastic world building and a story that takes its time to delve into everything in its surrounding. It just not for me.

I would recommend this book to ones who love a colorful story with lots of unique elements, but if you need a character driven, fast paced novel, it’s not for you. I enjoyed it enough to finish it but I will not be continuing on with the series.

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