Saturday, March 1, 2014

Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann


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.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

This is the second book that I finished for the Middle Grade Read-a-Thon happening at Middle Grade March I happened to borrow this book from my child, it was one of the books picked up at the school book fair held recently. 

Going in I didn't really know what to expect but I've always loved the cover and premise.  With a line like "don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged", I knew I wanted to read it too.  It really lives up to its definition of "part murder mystery, gothic fantasy, steampunk adventure." What I wasn't expecting to find was that the book is darker then I thought it would be but not in a way that I minded.  (I'm curious to see if my child will continue to read once the darker elements come up).  I'm having a hard time deciding if this really fits into the middle grade category, but going with the other seventy five users at Goodreads at the moment.   Plus, man the lady in plum turns out to be pretty creepy and whisking children away, well that is creepy too.  I was on edge to see what was going to happen next.  I enjoyed how the story was told in alternating perspectives of Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby and had a mysterious element to solve.  I certainly am looking forward to seeing if my library has the next one in the series.   


  1. I enjoyed this one too. It is really different being told in parts from an adult's POV. Glad you're part of the March Middle Grade Madness.

    1. I especially liked those alternating POV's, thanks for stopping by.

  2. I actually got this at a book signing with the author so I asked him a bit about it when I was deciding whether to get it signed for my daughter (8 at the time) and he said it's pretty dark so he would personally suggest 10 and up. I found that very helpful! I haven't read it yet, but I plan to read it before I hand it off to my daughter since she scares easily. Wonderful review!

    1. If she scares easily, I would defiantly read it first. So cool you got to meet the author. I totally spaced on writing he was nineteen when this was published, which I find wonderful. Thanks for stopping by.