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The Peculiar

The Peculiar

Written by Stefan Bachmann

Narrated by Peter Altschuler


The Peculiar

Written by Stefan Bachmann

Narrated by Peter Altschuler

ratings:
4/5 (20 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 18, 2012
ISBN:
9780062227683
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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.

A HarperAudio production.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 18, 2012
ISBN:
9780062227683
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Stefan Bachmann was born in Colorado and spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, where he graduated from Zurich University of the Arts with degrees in music composition and theory. He is the author of The Peculiar, his debut, which was published to international acclaim when he was nineteen years old. His other books include The Whatnot and A Drop of Night. www.stefanbachmann.com 


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Reviews

What people think about The Peculiar

3.9
20 ratings / 22 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book but I was in the mood for something different. This book was good. I am anxious to see what happens in the 2nd book.
  • (4/5)
    I liked this book much more than I thought I would. It was fun, and while it had a few similarities with Harry Potter, it was able to stand alone with an original story. What impressed me the most was the fact that this written by a 16 year old young man, who is also a very talented musician. If you get a chance check out the book's website and listen to the music he has composed to go along with the book. Very beautiful!

  • (5/5)
    Stefan Bachmann does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into an intriguing environment of his own wildly descriptive making. I easily became a wide-eyed, eager visitor in an original and fascinating land. The blend of vibrancy and curiosity of his vision made the journey very rewarding. I came to genuinely care for the main characters, and I sincerely wanted to travel with them on their adventure. However, I met some dismay with an ending that mainly implied this was an introduction in a series. Given the joy invested in the singular book, I was truly left wishing for a resolution that, if needed, could lead into further adventures, but also independently felt rich and complete.
  • (4/5)
    a story about a young boy and a man on a mission to save the world and the boy's sister from a catastrophe. fairies are mostly evil.
  • (5/5)
    Great fantasy, action-packed novel! The story, half-steampunk genre follows Bartholomew as he tries to free his sister, after she has been taken to open a faery door between the Old Country and London. With the help of Mr. Jelliby, he will have to fight off humans and faery alike.
  • (1/5)
    I did not get all the way through this one. The problem was that there were no characters that I cared about at all.
  • (5/5)
    I picked up this book based upon the cover. When I started reading it I was hooked right away! Steampunk, magic, goblins, faeries & suspense! I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what happened. The book was also full of action & good characters. The setting takes place in London during a time when humans & faeries must live together but neither is happy about it. Just a really good story. Can't wait for book 2.
  • (2/5)
    Maybe I wasn't in the mood for steampunk fantasy, but this book was very unsatisfying for me. I found myself skimming quite a bit, and if it were not a mere 265 pages, I would have put this one down. In my opinion, the characters were not properly set up. This seemed to be the second book in a series, making me feel like I had started the book in the middle. I had no sympathy for the protagonist and no disdain for the antagonist.

    I would have liked more of a day-to-day life description of the characters before they were thrust into action. While the preface was nice in that it described the faery world coming to England, I didn't get a good feel for the reason, the changes, or the new life with these creatures. What was so wrong with changelings? Was the author trying to make a commentary on a section of humanity in their story?

    In the end, I was glad it was over, was completely unsatisfied in the finish, will not read more and cannot recommend.
  • (4/5)
    Several years ago, the city of Bath and all its residents were completely destroyed when a gigantic door between Faerie and our world opened up in the center of the city, releasing thousands of faeries of all sorts and then closing tightly up again. Since then, fairies have been incorporated into everyday English life, and even into the government. Humans are still wary of faerie magic, but they have learned to suppress magic through the use of tolling bells, iron, and general steampunkness. The only beings who are truly ostracized are Changelings, or Peculiars - half-human, half-faerie children who live mostly in the partially-rebuilt slums of Bath. No one notices or cares when Changelings start disappearing from the slums except a little boy named Bartholomew Kettle, a changeling himself. When Bartholomew's sister Hettie is kidnapped, he has to find out what is happening to the rest of the Changelings, too. Thankfully a reluctant, lazy MP named Mr. Jelliby is begrudgingly on the case as well.This!! This is what a faerie/steampunk story should be like! The world-building is complex, but makes total sense. There is a prologue that explains the destruction of Bath in a simple but emotional way before the plot commences. The characters are nuanced and unique but have distinct motivations so the reader is never left wondering why they are acting a particular way. Bartholomew is ostracized and abused but loves his sister. Mr. Jelliby is good-hearted but lazy and non-confrontational. The faerie chancellor Mr. Lickerish wants to open another door to Faerie, and he doesn't care what or who gets in his way. I wasn't expecting greatness from this free audiobook, but I am very pleasantly surprised. Watch out for the cliffhanger, though.
  • (5/5)
    I really liked this one. A cross between Harry Potter and The Golden Compass with some original fairy mythology of its own. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel.
  • (5/5)
    Some years ago, a faerie door opened in the city of Bath, nearly obliterating the city and releasing a wave of the Fae into the mundane world before closing again. There were skirmishes and struggles, but now the faeries are assimilating into human culture, kept in check by iron and tolling bells. The mixing of the two races has, however, created a despised sub-class of changelings, or Peculiars. Bartholomew Kettle is one such child. He and his sister Hettie live with their human mother in the slums of Bath, having been long since abandoned by their faerie father. When changelings start disappearing, nobody is particularly concerned, but when Hettie is taken, Bartholomew will do anything to rescue her. Along the way, he will find himself tangled up in political schemes far beyond anything he could have imagined.I really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio version, and found it difficult to tear myself away. The premise is interesting, the worldbuilding strong, and I loved the characters -- plucky Bartholomew, wistful Hettie, lackadaisical Mr. Jelliby -- and the Sidhe always make such convincing villains! The book does end on a cliffhanger, so I'll be reading the next book in the series soon.
  • (3/5)
    Normally, I enjoy listening to books, but this is one I wish I had read. I had trouble understanding some of the voices which made it hard to focus on the story. What I did get, though, was a cute story with a great cliffhanger.
  • (4/5)
    Changelings, or half-bloods, are called peculiars in England after the fairy war. Despised by both humans and fairies, they live in hiding. Now someone is kidnapping and killing half-blood children. A member of parliament and a changeling child try to solve the mystery and stop the killings.
  • (4/5)
    wonderful book! written well beyond what you'd expect from a 16 yr old.
    a new style of fae fiction.
  • (4/5)
    Very well written and voiced.
  • (4/5)
    First of all, let me say that this novel is incredibly well written, especially for a first time author. I loved the writing. The world building as well is just fantastic. Just amazing descriptions of wide variety of places, from the slums of faery-land to London High Society.However, I had a few problems with a couple of parts of this novel. I had a hard time getting attached to any of the characters. I did like Bartholomew, but struggled to really get attached to him or to Arthur. The author, in my opinion, was a bit too distant when writing from their points of view.I also got frustrated by the number of questions the author left unanswered. For example, WHY does everyone hate the changelings/Peculiars so much? I never got a hint as to why they were so universally despised. Or Why were Arthur and Bartholomew able to fight off the effects of the magic spells when others were not? What makes them special? These were vital plot points in the novel, but I was left with these nagging questions pulling away my attention from the main plot of the novel.The ending was very well done, but there wasn’t any sort of conclusion. It just kind of ends, with the characters standing in the rubble. Did they get arrested? They have no sort of proof about the plot they just stopped. What happened to them? It was very frustrating for me as a reader.Overall, I still give this four stars. It might have given it five stars, despite the unanswered questions, if the novel had even a short chapter of conclusions on it.
  • (4/5)
    I have wanted to read this book for some time. I ended up picking it up off of the dollar table at one of my son’s book fairs at school. It ended up being a wonderful steampunk middle grade novel with magic and mystery.This book takes place in an alternate London where fae unwillingly fell into our world. The story follows two characters; the first is Bartholomew Kettle, who lives with his mother and sister in the faery slums of Bath. Bartholomew is a Peculiar, half fae and half human. When he sees a strange woman in a rich plum dress he is determined to find out the mystery behind her. The other character is Arthur Jellyby who is on the London council. Arthur just wants to coast through life unnoticed and unbothered, however he ends up drawn into a mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peculiars that puts him in contact with Bartholomew.I loved the lush and descriptive writing. This book is all about the moody atmospheric setting; the descriptive writing makes all of the scenes really come alive so that you feel like you are walking the streets of this strange and peculiar London.There is some excellent world building here and I really loved the idea of a London where faery had unwillingly taken residence. It’s a very creative idea and very well done. I love that you never know what kind of fae you will see next wandering the streets of this book.This is one of the first middle grade steampunk books I have ever read and it was well done. There are a lot of fun steampunk elements in here.Probably my biggest issue with the story was that I had a bit of trouble engaging with the characters. I just am not all that sympathetic to the characters and their plight; they come off as a bit dry. I also thought the story ended very abruptly. I didn’t realize that this was part of a series, but even knowing that now the ending to this book just seems very unfinished...which is a shame.Overall this was a well done middle grade steampunk novel. I enjoyed the world-building and the wonderfully descriptive writing. I did have some trouble engaging with the characters though. I would recommend to middle grade and older readers who love mysteries with some fantasy in them; especially to those who are interested in the steampunk genre. I personally am not sure if I will continue reading the series.
  • (4/5)
    Mini Book Review: Delightfully twisted & morbid fairy tale mixed with an almost steampunk vibe. Was flabbergasted that this was written when the author was only 16. Seriously, I could barely get my homework done at that age, let alone write such a brilliant tale. I was hooked in from the opening paragraph of this story with its vivid imagery and eccentric characters. The story does drag a wee bit about a third of the way through the story but it does pick up quickly. Lots of fascinating characters and an intriguing storyline that will keep you hooked to the end of the tale. Love to see characters (Mr Jelliby) who are ordinary and relatively wimpy, do extraordinary and brave things. The ending almost killed me though with its cliffhanger especially since I have no idea how long it will be till the next story comes out. Hope this makes sense, I am home sick, and even less articulate than normal. Highly recommend this for the middle grade reader who is a little more sophisticated in his reading tastes. Favorite Quotes``A murmur passed through the gathering. Mr. Jelliby squirmed. Oh, not murder, Why couldn`t people simply be nice to each other.````You are so alike really, you English and the faeries. So desperately far on either side that you can`t see anything in between. Ah, well. I`ll not talk. This part of London, nobody talks but the face on the coin, and as I said, it`s none of my business.````Bartholomew almost belonged here in this strange place. He could do the same things everyone else did, and no one would drag him off for it. No one would even notice him. For once in his life it wasn`t he who was peculiar.``Who Should or Shouldn`t Read Definitely for fans of the Leviathan series Would recommend for the more mature middle grade reader - Librarians make sure you pick just the right reader for this - this isn`t for everyone4.25 Dewey`sSimrit lent me a copy of this as she thought I would enjoy it
  • (4/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A creative and wonderful world told through a youthful mind but enjoyable by all.Opening Sentence: Feathers fell from the sky.Excerpt: YesThe Review:There is something about the cover of Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar that draws me in. This Middle Grade fantasy book has the promises of greatness, and I was very lucky to have received a copy for review. With all of the great praises of this debut, it was a surprise to hear that Bachmann wrote this at the age of 16. The Peculiar is filled with dark gothic elements, mixed with steampunk details and tied together in a fantasy-esque fairy tale.The Peculiar begins in Bath, where Bartholomew (Barty) and Hettie Kettle in an alternate Victorian version of the town. They live a solemn life, secluded from the rest of society. They are both hidden away from their mother, afraid to let their identities be known to the public. Barty and Hettie are Peculiars, changelings, half human and half fey. Both of the Kettle children long to belong and to be noticed, but alas it will never happen.Faeries live throughout the world, unintentionally trapped in our world and kept away from theirs. Paths will cross as Barty witnesses a kidnapping, one that will endanger not only his life, but Hettie’s as well. While Faeries are not accepted in this alternate world, neither are changelings. Now a target for incoming danger, Barty’s only hope is an unlikely Parliament member.Barty is a great character, filled with complexity and layers. As a peculiar, he has had his work cut out for him. His father left him, his mother fears discovery, and his sister, well she has branches for hair. Barty lives a hard life, but doesn’t seem to be phased by any of it. Barty longs to belong, like many young children do, and in the world that Bachmann has created, in the midst of The Peculiar’s version of prejudices, it’s not a surprise.The Peculiar has an amazing world, filled with imaginative details. In this alternate and unique world, Bachmann creates this very tangible and concrete setting for a not-so common story. Bachmann gives life to the characters, allowing for a very solid foundation to build on. The rich dialogue, the youthful humor, the grown up dark and creepy elements – they all add to the reasons why you should read The Peculiar. I must admit that the beginning of the book is a little slow, but Bachmann makes up for it in every other way.Bachmann is a fantastic writer, and for his age, he has a lot of talent. To come up with this extraordinary world filled with complex characters and a well-thought out and well-paced plot, is simply short of amazing. There is originality that seeps out of his typing (or writing) fingers and I cannot wait to read more from him. The Peculiar is a great fantasy, mixed with science fiction elements. And I must say, despite The Peculiar being categorized as a “middle grade” book, readers of all ages will enjoy this book.Notable Scene:A spasm passed over lady’s face, a flicker under the surface of her skin, and suddenly her expression was no longer blank. Her eyes fixed on Mr. Jelliby’s through the glass. He could see them now, shining bright and full of pain. Then her red lips parted and she was speaking in a creamy soft voice that held the faintest trace of an accent. “It is only the woodwork, my lords. It expands in the head of the day.”Her voice stopped, but she continued to stare at Mr. Jelliby, and her mouth continued to move. It formed two words. Two soundless words, just once, and they rang clear as crystal in his head.Help me.FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of The Peculiar. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
  • (5/5)
    If you like fairies and steampunk, check out The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann. I am convinced that this guy has to be a reincarnated writer. He started writing this book when he was 16 and he's only 18 now and, unlike some teen authors, this kid can write circles around most people I know. I can't figure it out. Just the amount of things he has to know to have crafted this book blow my mind. So now I love/hate him, you know? Sorry, Stefan. I see a lot of manuscripts that seem to me to be better suited to scripts than books. Why? Because they're dialogue strung together with a bird-picked skeleton of narrative. You don't live such books, you "watch" them from afar or you listen to them as if eavesdropping on a conversation involving people you don't know. Bachmann, on the other hand, knows how to craft a narrative meaty as stew and pungent as curry. Kudos to the kid. Read him. You won't be sorry
  • (4/5)
    I loved the inventive story of this young author's debut. Stefan Bachmann wrote this when he was 16 and it is a lovely combination of gothic horror, steampunk (for all you Leviathan fans)and fairy tale. Bartholomew and his sister Hettie live in Bath where there has been an ethnic cleansing of sorts - someone is killing all the changlings and the children have gone into hiding. Bartholomew wishes for a domestic fairy against the wishes of his mum. When Hettie is taken, Bartholomew must find her and put an end to the killings. With him is a lonely government man, Mr. Jelliby who feels he must summon all his courage to save the children and the woman in plum. The fairy population of London is helping the evil Privy Council member, Mr. Lickerish, gather up the children and purge them. There are mechanical contraptions galore and magical creatures that live in the wonderful imagination of Stefan Bachmann and I am glad he has shared them with us. This is the first of what I hope to be many more volumes. The book will be out for the world on Tuesday, September 18th.
  • (4/5)
    There has been so much buzz surrounding this book, I was afraid it may not hit the mark for me. Sometimes I get “buzz burnout” and I go in expecting my mind to be blown and then I come out underwhelmed. I am happy to say that, for me, this book delivered.Bartholomew and his sister, Hettie, are changelings, or “peculiars” — half faery/half human. They live in a slum called Bath, stuck inside their home, ordered to stay hidden so they aren’t hanged. They are considered outcasts by both humans and faeries alike — almost vilified for being different.When Bart notices a well-dressed and mysterious woman walking down the streets of Bath one day, his curiosity gets the better of him. He stands in his window despite his mother’s insistence he stay hidden, to see what this woman is up to. When he sees her disappear in a burst of feathers, taking with her another changeling, his presence at the window does not go unnoticed. Soon Bart finds his world turned upside down. The only one who may be able to save him is Mr. Jelliby, a Londoner and government official. When children begin to turn up dead, their bodies floating in the Thames, Mr. Jelliby decides to take it upon himself to put an end to the ferocity taking place around him.I was surprised to find that the author started this book when he was just sixteen (he’s now eighteen). The prose is exquisite and the story very deep and engaging. Mr. Bachmann does a wonderful job of mashing up Victorian London’s history by adding the story of the faeries and adding a dash of steampunk to the mix. The steampunk element is light and almost unnoticeable (which I liked — it never felt like it mired down the forward movement of the plot or confused anything.)The mystery and action of the novel are solid and I really enjoyed all of the characters. My only (minor) complaint is that while this is supposed to be a YA/MG novel, I felt the adult character of Mr. Jelliby had a more interesting and meaningful storyline. I felt that Bart and his story were a little flat in comparison, but maybe that’s just me.All in all this is a highly imaginative, well-crafted book and one I would enjoy reading again.