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The Peculiar by [Bachmann, Stefan]
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4.1 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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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)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007HC3SWQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Muller on 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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"I KNOW YOU'RE HERE, CHILD NUMBER TEN. I CAN FEEL YOU."

Stefan Bachmann's debut novel, THE PECULIAR, was absolutely stunning! THE PECULIAR is quite possibly the best middle grade novel I've ever read, and it will be adored by readers of any age.

I knew that I wanted to read this book ever since I heard of it. So when Harper offered it on Edelweiss, I pounced on it. Thanks for approving me, Harper! And when I started reading this book, I was sucked in from the very first few words. And I didn't stop reading until I was halfway through the book. It's that fantastic.

The writing style was mind-blowing. Stefan Bachmann created this excellent world that immediately grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. And I loved every second of it. With our main protagonist, Bartholomew, we go on an epic and wonderful adventure through the faery slums of Bath, trying to find a friend when we all desperately need one.

Bartholomew was such a great character. He's funny, sly, and different, which makes it all the better. Bachmann made his character so vivid, I felt as if he were real. I know, sounds crazy right? If you read this book (WHICH YOU MUST), you will understand exactly what I mean.

After finishing THE PECULIAR, I knew that this was the best middle-grade novel that I have ever read. No other book has made me lose myself into a charming world; made me think about things I had never consider; and most of all, it made me think of people, and how everything little action that we do affects them in more ways that anyone can ever imagine. I feel that THE PECULIAR is a novel about friendships, and the outcasts who are in need of one, even when everyone around them won't give them a chance.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most delightful and best written book I've read all year, which is the highest ranking I give. The writing style is lyrical and takes the imagination to an all New and wonderful place. I'm over 50 and was previewing the book before reading it to my grandchildren, but so loved the story that once done immediately bought the second book, which is just as good.

The audio voice couldn't be better. It's a perfect fit for all characters, female and male...rare indeed. This series is a must have for all ages. The characters are New, inspiring, and frightening, just wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been looking forward to reading Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar for awhile now, drawn to the intriguing steampunk and fantasy midde-grade premise, and I'm happy to report that it not only lived up to my expectations, but I really loved it as well!

Bartholomew Kettle and his little sister are changelings, half human and half fae children, and are knows as Peculiars. The siblings live with their mother in the faery slums of Bath and do everything they can to NOT be noticed. But when a mysterious lady in plum shows up on their street and takes the changeling boy across the street, Bartholomew gets noticed, and worse, he gets marked. When the lady in plum and a Raggedy Man take Bartholomew's sister he must risk everything to save her. With the help of a Arthur Jelliby, Bartholomew goes up against the lady in plum and a sinister faery to save his sister and maybe the whole world.

Stefan Bachmann has crafted a fantastically enchanting, deliciously and whimsically dark, and impressive debut. The Peculiar offers readers a spellbindingly original story with a thrilling mix of steampunk, mystery and gothic fantasy elements, and two endearing heroes.

The story is fast and excitedly paced and will easily hold the attention of even young readers. Bachmann is a superb writer and storyteller, with a refreshing, smart and witty voice, and he weaves a lyrical and magical tale. The world-building is stellar with a grand and vivid Victorian steampunk setting. The world Bachmann has laid out is richly layered and stunning. Even the dirty, stark faery slums hold a certain enchanting quality.

What drew me to this book initially was the fact that it was touted has a middle-grade steampunk, which I've never read before.
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