by Stefan Bachmann
Published: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: For review
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.
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*MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS*
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful and colorful cover. It made me think this would be cute story suitable for younger audience, of course I wanted to read this right away!
So I was pretty surprised when I started reading this and was actually scared. I mean can't-read-this-when-there's-dark-outside- scared. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Bartholomew is a changeling who lives his life by one rule: Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. Because he's a changeling (half fairy, half human), and neither humen nor fairies accept them.
So nobody really cares when someone starts killing changelings. Until Bartoholomew's little sister, Hettie, is taken. Bartholomew starts an eventful journey with a politician, Mr. Jelliby, to save his sister. Yet it may be too late.
First I have to mention the absolutely fantastic narrator. Like I've mentioned earlier, some books just have the ability to come alive in your head. While reading this, I couldn't help but hear the narrator's voice in my head. Something like Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some people probably won't like that, but I happen to love that style.
I also loved Mr. Jelliby. He's a politician, which made me little iffy at first, but he has the ability to get himself in such a trouble you can't help but like him. And sometimes feel a little sorry. He definitely isn't your typical hero, which only makes him more likable. Though I'm surprised he isn't the middle-aged politician I pictured him being.
I'm usually the fan of girly books, and this definitely isn't one. I expected this to be full of action, and I was right, but all the scary parts really surprised me. Okay, I may be the only one who found this scary. But.. Think Professor Quirinus Quirrell and oh-look-you-have-extra-face and scarecrow coming to your room at night and singing you lullaby.. Make's me so scared I'm actually nauseous.
So, if you don't get scared easily, you definitely should check this out. Stefan Bachmann manages to create a whole new world where the natural meets the supernatural with fairies and magic. This isn't pretty story, but that is what makes this stand out even more.