Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Peculiar

 The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

 You know how you find a book, and you devour it, and then when it is over you feel like you just watched your best friend die or walk out the door without looking back? And you want to sit down and cry, but you know you can't because everyone around you will think you've completely lost your marbles and will not offer one ounce of sympathy?

 That's how I feel at the moment.

 One day I saw the cover for a new book coming out. It had a picture of a clockwork bird on the front and my Steampunk love went, *BONG!* And I knew I had to read it someday. However, I didn't think my library would ever get it so I resigned myself to the knowledge that it might be a long while before I read it. The other day, however, I found it sitting on a shelf. I shamelessly snatched it up and carried it home. And today I finished it.

 The book wasn't what I thought it would be. It did have some Steampunk in it, but it also added faeries. I've tired to read other books which have mixed the two and they failed miserably. This book surprised me, on many levels.

 Set in Victorian England, The Peculiar takes place after a door was opened between our world and the fairy world. Fairies came over into our world, but weren't able to return home. Now, many years later, they live amoung the humans, and some have even married humans. 
 Fairies are accepted in England, some even working in government. However, half bloods are hated by both sides and, if discovered, are often killed.
 Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie are half bloods. They've had to spend their lives hidden away, knowing if they are seen they will be hung. It is a miserable life for them, never able to leave their home, and more then anything Bartholomew longs for a friend.
 Arthur Jelliby works in the government. He's a shy young man who wishes to remain credible and behave in a manner worthy of his high ranking. This changes, however, when half blood children begin to show up in the Themes, dead and hallow. Mr. Jelliby soon discovers a fairy who works with him might be involved, and it is up to him to stop whatever is happening - if he can find the courage to do so.

 This book is part Steampunk, part fantasy, part horror story (though not so much on the horror. Think Gothic, like A Picture of Dorian Gray.) The book shifts back and forth between Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby, two very well done characters. 

 Bartholomew is a typical little boy. He wants someone to play with, to talk with, a friend. He wants to be normal, to go out and play in the streets without risk of being killed. However, his actions often put him and his family in danger and later he blames himself for the things which happen to them and determines to make it right.

 Mr. Jelliby could ALMOST be annoying. Almost. I don't think I've ever met a bigger coward of a character, but when he realizes it is up to him to help someone who really needs him nothing can stop him. He goes from a coward to one of the coolest, bravest heroes I've ever had the honour of spending time with.

 The book was well paced. It never felt too dull or too rushed. The bad guy was perfectly creepy without being the annoying, rub your hands and cackle kind. And the! It was great, and cruel at the same time. (All I shall say is book two needs to be out sooner!)

 Another amazing thing about this story is that the author is only nineteen - though he might be twenty now. Most books written by someone so young rarely turn out that well. I often had to stop reading for a moment just to make sure I had his age right. He's an amazing writer, not only for being so young, but just period. I've read books by adults that aren't this good.

 In short, I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

 Stefan's blog can be found HERE. Read it, he has wonderful posts. 

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