From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This sequel to The Peculiar (HarperCollins, 2012) is an enthralling read in its own right, but even better for those acquainted with the first book. Bachmann combines the pleasures of a Dickensian cast of characters with the eldritch qualities of British faerie lore and adds a touch of steampunk to entice readers into an alternate universe in which the English are on the verge of war with the fay. Pikey Thomas is an urchin who's been "fairy-touched," which has left him with one eye that can see into the Old Country, but also endangers him in a society that is hostile to anything connected to faeries. Moreover, his real eye seems to be on a pendant around the neck of Hettie, the little girl who was captured by faeries in The Peculiar. Her brother, Bartholomew, has been trying to rescue her ever since and, when he comes across Pikey in a London prison, he effects the boy's release and enlists his aid. Bachmann writes with unnerving assurance for someone so young. (He was still in his teens when he completed the two books.) He describes an army camp: "It spilled out of the huddle of low stone houses like intestines from a goat's belly." The breathtaking beauty of his prose is coupled with a plot that also leaves his audience breathless.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The changeling Bartholomew Kettle is still searching for his sister, Hettie, who was swept into the world of faeries after they prevented the sinister Lord Lickerish from opening the door inside Hettie and allowing faeries to invade England. But Hettie has been lost in the Old Country for years, and it will take all of her effort—as well as Bartholomew’s and that of street urchin Pikey—to survive the machinations of the Sly King and save England once again. Bachmann’s follow-up to The Peculiar (2012) has the same dense world building as his first book, though his skills have grown and his writing is much smoother. That said, the characterization still sometimes suffers under the weight of his world building, and the final resolution drags somewhat. Bartholomew often fades to the background in favor of the understandably sullen Hettie and the desperate and destitute Pikey, who has admirable grit. Readers who like their fantasy dark and their faeries sinister will find something to enjoy here. Grades 4-7. --Snow Wildsmith