Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The PeculiarSource: Purchased/Sync Audio Download
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series: The Peculiar #1
Edition: Paperback, 376 pages / Audiobook, 8 hours (est.)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases

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.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure,The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

The Peculiar was one of those books I kept my eye on for a while, and I jumped at the chance to download it free last year through the SYNC program…but of course I didn’t listen to it. I even bought a paperback earlier this year, and still nothing. Finally on a particularly stressful day of work I clicked play and then I couldn’t bare to press pause, and when I did I carried the book with me and continued reading. It was totally worth every minute spent listening to it, it was worth constantly thumbing through the book to keep track of where the audiobook left off.

The Peculiar is a book with a rich atmosphere and vibrant characters, and even without the help of the audiobook narrator it had it’s own unique voice that pulled me in and made me eager to read more. The story is so different than what I’ve read concerning the Fae, and in part that’s why I love middle grade so much. Things that would lose their shine when placed in YA are fully capable of standing out in a big way. The world building is on point without ever falling prey to the dreaded ‘info dump’, each character’s voice is unique, and the writing was vibrant making this one of the better middle grade stories.

As a book it’s a fantastic read, but the audiobook is just as amazing! I loved the narrator’s voice and his ability to portray quite  a few characters with different voices. He has one of those voices that makes you want to listen to him narrate everything, he could probably make my life sound so amazing.

So if you’re looking for a quick fantasy read with a lot of charm and character then The Peculiar might be for you! I will say that it’s not a middle grade specific book, so if you’re hesitant about the age range don’t be. It is a ‘young’ novel but I think anyone could enjoy it.

4 stars

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4 Responses to Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

  1. I’m glad this book ended up pulling you out of your stressful slump at work, isn’t it great when it has that relaxing effect? At first I was confused with The Peculiars which is a book I have for review, but I’m glad there was some great elements like world building and characters. Lovely review Michelle, as always ❤

  2. Ooh, I need this! Adding to my TBR list now. Might even pick up a Kindle copy today. Thanks for a fabulous review!

  3. Charlotte says:

    The sequel has been sitting on my tbr pile for ages….It’s a classic case of “books one buys for oneself” languishing –so many others that I didn’t buy need to be read first!

  4. This sounds delightful and I just love the cover!

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