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The Whatnot (The Peculiar) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 24, 2013
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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
Top customer reviews
The Whatnot picks up just where the Peculiar leaves off and it is written in the exact same vein. The author still has the same voice and we get to find out what happened to many of the characters from the Peculiar and then meet a couple of interesting new ones.
Bought the kindle edition, started reading it that night and I'm sure glad I did. It took me a couple of nights to read it, thoroughly enjoyed it and since then I cannot get that book out of my head.
The first book just toyed with the idea of a somewhat familiar world... another London in another planet Earth in a parallel universe. the characters were there, the description was there but it was so mundane that there was nothing truly engaging for me... no powerful wizard that didn't know he was a wizard, no fire breathing dragons, no weakling on an impossible journey, etc.
now the second book is the real article, he sold me that world in the first pages; the action never stopped, the character got better and better... the house that is constantly changing, the eyes that can see through parallel worlds and especially the jail description were that out of the ordinary details that set him apart from the Rolling, Tolkien, etc impersonators that litter this book category...
If you enjoyed Harry Potter, Eragon, Percy Jackson even Games of Thrones you must read this one.
As for the author I'm trilled he is only 19, that means I will hopefully have many years of good books ahead of me but if you (Stefan) are reading this please, please, please understand that what made the first book good and the second superb was that it were short, fast paced highly innovative books. keep it that way, I have seen so many failures of great sequels:
-Paulini with Eragon: first book was great, second unbelievable, third meh, fourth a total disaster.
-Martin with Game of Thrones: best first book ever, second was even better than first, third ok, fourth bad and fifth an absolute pain to finish.
I do not know what is going on with the fourth book, authors have success writing 200-300 pages fast pace books and then they decide to bring in a fourth book that is 800-900 pages that introduces so many new characters and plots going nowhere that the magic is lost. even Rolling tried her hand in the fourth and fifth books of Harry Potter with 800+ pages, luckily she pulled it off... most are not so skilled.
So, my dear Stefan... I would love to read an 800 pages book if it is as good as your second but do yourself a favor and if you see your books are breaking the 400 pages mark; call a great editor (Riordan's maybe?), a friend and someone that hates your writing... listen to them, find a middle ground and make the changes you need to. you had a pretty good start but remember others had too, only to crash and burn... please, please learn from their mistakes because I want more of what you showed me in the second book. A lot more.
Thanks for a great trip, I'll be looking out for more and good luck,
The mood of the book was downright bleak. Barthy was portrayed throughout as really nasty and unlikeable. The narrated events hardly sum up to something that could be called a coherent story.
I do not know what happened here but this was ONE BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.
Most recent customer reviews
Beautifully written and detailed, it's very imaginative.Read more