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The Peculiar [Kindle Edition]

Stefan Bachmann
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
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Book Description

The international bestseller and debut novel by teenage author and classical musician Stefan Bachmann is part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part clockwork adventure. Best-selling author Rick Riordan said of The Peculiar, "Stefan Bachmann breathes fresh life into ancient magic."

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew and his little sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are Peculiars, and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them. But when Peculiars start showing up in London murdered and covered with red tattoos, Bartholomew breaks all the rules and gets himself noticed. Full of magic, dazzling inventions, and intriguing characters such as Mr. Jelliby and Lord Lickerish, this story of friendship, bravery, and nonstop action adventure was hailed by best-selling author Christopher Paolini as "swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended." The Peculiar ends with a spectacular cliff-hanger, and the story concludes in The Whatnot.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-This gripping debut novel opens with a prologue that describes how the fairies left their own land, came to England, fought a war with the humans, and lost, leading to a mechanical Age of Smoke where church bells, iron, and mechanics are used to prevent magic. In this alternative world, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister, Hettie, are changelings, also called Peculiars, children of a human mother and a faery father who has abandoned the family. They live in the faery slums of Bath and follow their mother's rule, "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged." When Bartholomew watches a beautiful lady from his window, she notices him, and his adventures begin. The lady is involved in a plot whose victims are changeling children, and when Hettie is kidnapped, Bartholomew joins forces with Arthur Jelliby, a member of Parliament who is investigating the plot and sees the boy as a person, not just a Peculiar. Arthur and Bartholomew begin to understand the scale of the plan and the danger that faces all of England, and they travel across the country to gather clues and save Hettie. Bachmann began writing this novel when he was only 16, and he's still a teenager, making the atmospheric writing and tense plotting even more of an accomplishment. The Peculiar combines fantasy, mystery, and suspense with a wry humor and unusual characters to create an intriguing, thought-provoking whole that will leave readers looking forward to sequels. Fans of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008) and young steampunk enthusiasts will find much here to enjoy.-Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

First-time novelist Bachmann crafts an elaborate alternate steampunk Britain, set after the Smiling War, when a door to the Old Country was opened and faeries of all types streamed into Bath. Bartholomew and his younger sister, Hettie, are changeling children, outcasts even amongst faeries. But someone is extremely interested in changelings, kidnapping and murdering nine of them in attempts to open a new door into the Old Country. When Hettie is taken, Bartholomew must try to save his sister from becoming the gateway that will destroy the world. Imaginative, highly descriptive writing includes faerie lore and mystery, thrilling adventure and friendship, and bursts of the fantastic and whimsical, all of which is tempered with a darkness that permeates the story. Alternating points of view from Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby, a bumbling yet good-hearted member of the Privy Council who is helping him, keeps the story moving quickly, and the faerie Lord Lickerish is an appropriately creepy villain. Grades 4-7. --Charli Osborne

Product Details

  • File Size: 610 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007498845
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007HC3SWQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful surprise September 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are so many new fantasy books out in the market rehashing so many of the same themes.This one seems different to me .I was so so surprised on how much I enjoyed this book. I love to read children's literature and am drawn to Victorian settings. The Peculiar gives you lots of characters to root for. I love that there are twists and turns and that Characters start out one way and end up going in a different direction than you thought. As an adult I love the homage to Dickens and it has just the right blend of steam punk which does not distract from the story but enhances it. It is one of those great books where you feel you need to stop reading to do some other work and then you find you go back and pick it up to read just a bit more. I hope there is more to come from this author.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Kids September 27, 2012
This is one of those books for "kids" that adults can enjoy every bit as much, if not more. Complex, engaging world, and amazing writing. I expect great things in the future from this author.

Oh, and my 14-year-old daughter also approves. She can't wait for the next book in the series. Neither can I.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and unexpected November 9, 2012
I picked up The Peculiar when I saw that Rick Riordan and Christopher Paolini had written blurbs for it. Though I wouldn't pronounce it as one of my favorites, the story was enjoyable and unexpected.

I'm not one to read books about fae, but I really enjoyed this one! The fact that the fairies are portrayed as human-like is probably why it appealed to me. I'm curious to learn more about their world and the magic they possess though.

Though I didn't strongly connect with either of them, Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby were both interesting characters. As they attempted to attain their goals, they experienced a shift in personality, which definitely interested me.

All in all, The Peculiar was an enjoyable, imaginative read geared towards a younger audience. It's a simple story, but it's satisfying. It's a quick, fun and well-crafted book - Stefan Bachmann definitely has a way with words.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I like the cover of The Peculiar very much--it is a most intriguing clockwork bird, and the feathers add a nicely mysterious touch. What the cover does not convey is that this is a book about a 19th-century England in which the gates to the land of faery opened, and a vicious and bloody war resulted--the Smiling War, so called because of all the grinning skulls that covered the fields. But fairy magic proved to be no match for the British military, and with the gate now closed again, the faeries had no choice but to remain in the human world...constrained both by laws and by the inimical effects of iron and church bells.

Yet some humans and some faeries found each other not unobjectionable....and Changeling resulted--Peculiar children despised by both races. Bartholomew and his little sister, Hettie, are two such children, confined by their mother for their own protection to the inside of a rundown home in a marginal area of war-torn Bath, now a predominantly faery town. Bartholomew can pass as human, from a distance; Hettie, with branches growing from her head instead of hair, is much too Peculiar...

But danger finds the two of them, nonetheless. Nine changelings have been horribly murdered...and all unwillingly, and rather unwittingly, Arthur Jelliby, a gentleman of means and a junior member of Parliament, finds himself embroiled by conscience and coincidence in keeping the tenth changeling alive. And Barthlomew might be that child. Or perhaps Hettie...little branch-haired Hettie, with her raggedy handkerchief doll, who can never play with other children...

Oh gosh, how to describe this murder mystery/alternate history/faery steampunk/brave brother/unwilling hero/utterly gripping story?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely loved this book September 25, 2012
The world in THE PECULIAR is truly unique and also extremely well-imagined. The characters are deep and interesting (I LOVED Mr. Jelliby as the reluctant hero). The story a wonderful combination of adventurous, scary, and sweet.

I'm looking forward to the sequel.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite for me. February 25, 2013
I have been trying to open op to more middle school age books and this one looked interesting. I took the chance and grabbed the audio. I want to say that I think it's a good story but the book just wasn't for me. I liked the plot, the concept, and the characters, but for some reason it didn't work together well for me, the reason why, I love a great character driven story. This book had some great characters but was written more for the story than the characters, and though it was a very creative and unique story, it was just lacking for me.

The story is about two young Halflings, half human, half faery. They are called peculiars in this book and they don't belong anywhere. The faeries don't think they are good enough and the humans think they are trouble. Bartholomew and Hettie live with their mother hidden away in the house. Bartholomew looks human enough, but Hettie does not. Their mother loves them and wants to keep them safe. Therefore they are restricted to stay in the house out of view. Bartholomew dreams of leaving the house, making friends, and living a normal childhood. He sees interesting things and people outside his window and wants to escape into the real world. Looking out the window one day he sees a lady in a plum dress and sees her talking another Halfling away, he wants to be taken away, and in the process of looking he is noticed. This gets him and Hettie in a lot of trouble. In the meantime there are Peculiar children disappearing and then showing up dead. One man, Mr. Jelliby, decides to solve the mystery of the Peculiars abductions and deaths which leads to his world colliding with Bartholomew's world.

This was a very well written and creative story. It just didn't capture me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every word
Loved every word . a great read no matter the age. I have informed friends and thet all purchased and enjoyed.
Published 5 months ago by Terrance
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Steampunk Read for Kids
I loved the world created by Bachmann, it is so rich, vivid, and imaginative. You could really feel how the faery and Victorian worlds came together in a clockworky, steampunky... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Coreena McBurnie
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy
If you like fantasy fiction you'll enjoy this book. I wasn't really expecting the story to be fantasy.
Published 6 months ago by Casi
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to describe--Hard to put down
This is a surprisingly engaging story. Surprising because it's rather hard to describe but really works well. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Peculiar is priceless!
It is obvious to me that this must the first of a series. It is so different and intriguing; an alternate history, a total fantasy with a re-imagining of the concept of fairies... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lynne M Schuepbach
5.0 out of 5 stars Let’s hear much more from this author!
I love this book! The writing is a phantasmagoria of brilliance, leading the reader’s imagination like the Pied Piper of Hamelin led the children. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Deborah Sandford
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read all year
This is one of the most delightful and best written book I've read all year, which is the highest ranking I give. Read more
Published 12 months ago by LCNanny
4.0 out of 5 stars A DEFINITE 4.5+stars for this work of Stefan Bachmann!***SPOILER...
To be quite honest I would've given it 5++ stars had the ending NOT LEFT ME HANGING A BIT! It's OBVIOUS to me(&I would HOPE to all who read this wonderful book! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Marci
4.0 out of 5 stars Lush Writing, Great Adventure
The descriptive ability of this author is amazing. He build such a detailed, imaginative world and leads us readers on a great adventure unlike any other. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Leslie Ann D
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This was a great read except that it was a bit on the dark side. The only thing I didn't like about it, was that the author kind of hung you at the end of the story. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Christine Meads
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More About the Author

Stefan Bachmann was born in Colorado, but only stayed there for about five minutes before his parents moved him to Switzerland, which is where he lives now in a hundred year old farmhouse next to a forest. He's a student of classical music at the Zürich Conservatory, and when he's not practicing instruments he likes watching movies and writing stories. THE PECULIAR, his first book, was published by Greenwillow/HarperCollins in 2012, when he was nineteen years old.

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