{Review + Giveaway} The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Peculiar
The Peculiar (The Peculiar #1)
by Stefan Bachmann
Genre: Middle-grade Steampunk Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication date: September 18th 2012
Source: finished copy from publisher
Author's website | 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.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.
When I picked up The Peculiar from my bedside table, I was expecting a light and fluffy children's fantasy. I wasn't expecting a fast-paced plot set in dark fantasy unlike anything I have ever read before. I could not escape the world that was created within the book's shiny cover. I was literally spotted in a common circumstance only to be plunged into a world worthy a storytelling; which is exactly what Stefan Bachmann accomplished. Clever world-building, deft prose, and a lovely old-fashioned style to it that makes it feel nostalgic without seeming secondhand. As soon as I opened that very first page, The Peculiar took me on a journey that I won't soon forget.

The Peculiar is set in an interesting universe in England, surrounded by magnificent and vile faeries and magical creatures and rich, promising characters. Stefan Bachmann tells us the story of Bartholomew, a changeling child, and Mr. Arthur Jelliby, a young man with a boringly ordinary job who somehow finds himself tangled in a mess of plots of vengeance decades in the making. The England portrayed in the book is dark, gritty, and unabashedly honest. Maltreatment, poverty, discrimination, and the like were evident in their world and I love that you don't usually see those in most middle-grade worlds.

I found all of the characters to be very endearing, even the 'bad ones'. They were all very well-written, Bartholomew in particular. He had an innocent bravery that I really admired, and at times he appeared slightly self-centered but he had moments of sheer inspiration. I found myself cheering him and his companions on. Some readers would mark him as an annoying child, but aren't all children even the slightest bit annoying? I loved Mr. Jelliby for his innocent denseness about the real world. I loved him even more when he became the first man to ever shake Bartholomew's, a Peculiar, tiny little hand. In this book, the little moments were the best moments.

Bachmann is a master at drawing your attention and making you stay. I hadn't read a book in some time that really kept me awake, so that you keep turning the page expecting a lady in a plum dress coming to get you. Well-paced and entertaining, The Peculiar is a great original and unique story filled with pseudo-heroic adventures, spine-tingling occurances, and questions that will boggle your mind. Brilliantly plotted with characters that will leave a mark on you, The Peculiar is thrilling, riveting, exciting, beautifully strange; and, well... peculiar. And I mean that in the best way possible.

Get yourself a copy of The Peculiar at: National Bookstore | The Book Depository

And since everyone over at HarperCollins is made of pure awesome, they're giving you the chance to win five shiny shiny signed hardcover copies of The Peculiar. Plus, there's a grand prize of a signed copy AND a skype chat with the author himself, Stefan Bachmann!



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  1. Yes it has sparked my interest since I love anything which can be classified as dark fantasy. Also, I must say that the cover is great, it is so unique!

  2. Wow! after i read your review, I can't wait enough to read the book by my eyes also..I guess you had already detailed what is inside the book and how would the reader would feel about it. Thank you very much for this giveaway. I hope for the best that the book may meet me soon by your grace.. ^_^

  3. You have me sold at "steampunk fantasy!" :D


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