The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Book Synopsis: Bartholomew
is a Peculiar, half human and half faerie. Children born in this way
have to live a life of secretly because they are hated by both races and
would likely be murdered if they were discovered. Bartholomew lives
with his human mother and sister Hettie in the slums of Bath, England.
In this world the original city of Bath was destroyed during a war
between humans and faeries. The humans won the war and the faeriefolk
became little more than slaves and a system was set up to prevent them
from being able to use their magic.
Arthur Jelliby is a human
politician. He isn't particularly clever or good at much and in-fact
only got the position because his mother was well connected. He is not
adventurous or ambitious and would rather spend time at home with his
wife, rather than dabbling in politics or going on adventures.
only friend other than his family is another Peculiar that he waves to
from his bedroom window. One day he witnesses a strange woman take his
friend away, and has a small adventure while trying to find out what
happened to him. This eventually leads to him trying to contact the
faeries. But soon the mysterious group targeting Peculiars abduct his
sister and Bartholomew must set off to rescue her.
Through a series
of unfortunate events and bad decisions Mr. Jelliby is suspected of
espionage. His efforts to prove his innocence only make matters worse
and he discovers a very real plot.
Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby find
each other and team up in an attempt to unravel the plot and rescue
Hettie. They have some adventures as they follow the clues and it all
leads to a final showdown, the result of which could have more
repercussions than a few missing children.
Richi's Reviews: I enjoyed this book,
it is definitely targeted at children but it can be easily enjoyed by
adults as well. It is well-written and easy to follow, with good
descriptions, although as you would expect of a children's book it does
lack in extravagant detail and the plot is fairly linear.
story is engaging and you are with the characters as they try to find
out what is happening to the children and why, and whether they rescue
Hettie in time.
Mr. Jelliby is a great character, he is a good
person but somewhat of a bumbling and a very reluctant hero, he is very
endearing and I found myself drawn to him and wanted to see him succeed.
I thought was also very well written. He acts in a very convincing
childish way, sometimes selfishly, sometimes a little mischievous or
emotionally. None of it was bad or dislikeable, but simply realistic.
Some of the sequences were a little scary for younger readers and is probably suitable for children nine years or older.
other thing of note is that this book ends on a big cliffhanger, so if
that is something that drives you crazy you might want to wait until the
rest of the series is out.
I love the cover art on this book, it
is beautifully drawn and is even shiny which really brings out the
mechanical bird. The rest of the book is well presented with chapters
that actually have titles and black feathers floating down the side.
This is an excellent book for children but also fans of fantasy/steam punk/faerie stories of any age.