Book Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

June 22, 2013 § 3 Comments

Title: The Peculiar | Author: Stefan Bachmann
Series: The Peculiar Book #1
Genre: Fantasy, Adventures, Middle Grade
Format: Kindle e-Book
Date Finished: June 7, 2013
CoffeeNCrackers Rating: 2 Cups of Coffee

  “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. – Goodreads
My Review

First off, I really liked the cover, the clockwork bird. Story-wise I have a mixed feeling about this book. I like the whole idea, faeries, clockwork devices, the changelings, peculiar, and magic. However, the story turned out just okay and way below my expectation. The ideas which I think very brilliant and inventive are not well delivered resulting in a monotonous read. Is it because this is a middle grade book? Well, I reckon it is, because I have a feeling that the middle graders will love this book a tad more than I do. 
Bartholomew and his sister Hettie are changelings a.k.a the “Peculiars”. Their mother keeps them away from the society in fear that people will know who or to be exact what they really are. Mr Lickerish is hunting down the peculiar children to unlock the door to the fairy world. Nine children die mysteriously and the door Hettie is the next changeling abducted by Lickerish, and Barthe has to save her. Together with Mr Jelliby, who accidentally knows Lickerish’s secrets, they go on an adventure to save Hettie. 
I have to admit that “The Peculiar” is a well written story. Yes well written indeed. But the issue here is, the author plays a lot with difficult and bombastic words which make it difficult for me to understand the story. The sentences are too well structured and I don’t think that the descriptive storytelling and poetic language that Bachmann uses to narrate this is a brilliant idea. Consider this is an adventure story, an outgoing and reckless narration would suit it better, or so I thought. I can see that Bachmann focuses more on the world development and missed out the importance of the character development which make the characters a bit dull.

Will I recommend this book to middle graders? Well yes, of course! Despite of all the flaws stated, I believe that “The Peculiar” would be a promising read for younger readers. Considering the fact that Bachmann has written this book when he was just 16 year old, more credits should be given to him.

FOOTNOTE: This review is linked up to Saturday Situation hosted by Candace of Candace’s Book Blog and Lori of Pure Imagination.
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