Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is an engrossing youth fantasy novel that takes place in a darkly re-envisioned industrial age London. Hundreds of years ago, a door between the fairy world and the human world was opened, leading to the arrival of fairies in Britain.  The door was eventually closed and mechanical technology was introduced to keep the harmful fairie magic at bay, but any fairies left in England were forced to live alongside humans as outcasts. Our young protagonist Bartholomew and his sister Hettie are both changelings, children of mixed blood, hated by Faeries and humans alike. Although they have been warned repeatedly by their mother to stay in hiding, Bartholomew's curiosity gets the better of him when a strange woman in a plum colored dress appears on their street. Following her movements, he watches in horror as she magically whisks away one of his young changeling neighbors, leaving only a fairie ring of mushrooms behind.

Mr. Jelliby, an apathetic human whose existence revolves around his mundane job in Parliament, becomes the unlikely hero in this story when he uncovers a nefarious plot during a meeting at the home of one of his colleagues.   Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, Mr. Jelliby sets out for answers of his own. A series of clues leads him ever closer to the truth and right to Bartholomew. Together they search for the lady in plum, however to find her they must first make it through the frightening obstacles put in place by those who will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden.

Stefan Bachmann's debut novel takes you on a perilous journey through the dark, crowded streets of England where you'll encounter many strange and formidable creatures. Just when you think you've solved the mystery right alongside our unlikely heroes, yet another twist is thrown into the story, leaving you wondering what could possibly come next. Although this novel was written with a younger audience in mind, adults will appreciate the intricately written text and the artfully constructed world.

While waiting for the next book in this series, be sure to check out The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver and The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech.

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