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The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (Review & Giveaway)

The Peculiar

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.

Buy a copy from National Bookstore!

Personal Thoughts:

The Peculiar surely lives up to its title, as it is rather a peculiar book, but in a good way. From the writing to the story and characters this book is different from most MG fantasy books I’ve read before. I don’t know how to accurately describe Stefan Bachmann’s writing style, but definitely not the usual type of writing that I’m reading lately. It started a little bit awkward but then after I’m done reading the prologue I get the feel of his writing style and enjoyed it more with his descriptive but straightforward words.

The story centers around Bartholomew Kettle, a changeling or “peculiar” – half faery, half human, who live in a slum city of Bath. He and her sister Hettie were stuck inside their home, ordered to stay hidden for their own safety. Because peculiar like them are considered outcasts by both humans and faeries alike and often killed by superstitious people. When Bartholomew notices a mysterious woman in a plum-colored dress walking down the streets of Bath one day, his curiosity gets the better of him. He silently watch her from a window despite his mother’s instructions to always stay hidden. While watching, he sees the woman disappear in burst of feathers, taking another changeling with her, and soon his presence at the window does not go unnoticed. From then on, his world turned upside down and the only one who may be able to save him is a human government official from London, Mr. Arthur Jelliby. This reluctant hero, who happens to be always at the wrong place at the wrong time decides to take upon himself the mystery of peculiars’ dead bodies floating in Thames.

I haven’t much fae stories quite awhile now, because honestly most of the time they are a missed than hit for me. The last book with faerie characters that I remember enjoying is the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Another middle grade book with faeries but really focus on a genius kid, Artemis Fowl. In this book though, I am surprised to find myself actually enjoying the fae plot. Stefan Bachmann version of faeries were more human-like than I expected them to be.

Alternately told from Bartholomew Kettle and Arthur Jelliby point of view, Stefan Bachmann successfully delivered a unique and compelling voices that can easily drew readers in to the story. Add the intricate world building with its vivid descriptions of surroundings and characters I find myself hooked till the end. This is definitely a charming and dark novel which nailed the mystery part by building tensions and series of questions for readers. I find the shifting of viewpoints effective as it leaves readers suspense at every ends of narrations. The unusual team of Barthy and Arthur in solving the murder mystery is amusing at the most part, and I hope to see more of their worlds collide in the next book.

As a newly debut author, Stefan Bachmann is an impressive writer. The way he crafted The Peculiar is very refined and sophisticated that I got a hard-time convincing myself that he is only sixteen when he made this book. He obviously got a rich imagination and creative mind. Even the name of his characters were creative and distinct. Except for the main character, Barthy, I find the name of Arthur Jelliby, Mr Lickerish, and the Buddelbinsters unique and fun.

Overall, The Peculiar is a highly imaginative book that is packed with suspense, fantasy and mystery. A gripping, dark and elaborate set-up of a new fantasy world by Stefan Bachmann. I can’t wait to read the next book, Whatnot to find out how the story will roll from here.

This review is part of the blog tour for The Peculiar organized by Pinoy Book Tours!

Watche Stefan Bachmman video below and don’t forget to enter the giveaways! Also, there will be a twitter party during the tour and Stefan Bachmann will be there to answers some questions or simply chat to all of us. So watch out for that.

The Giveaways:

Giveaway #1: International!

What’s up for Grabs?

  • 5 SIGNED, HARDCOVER COPIES of The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann courtesy of HarperCollins International
  • And a GRAND PRIZE of a SIGNED COPY AND a SKYPE CHAT with the author himself, Stefan Bachmann

The Rules:

  • Five winners of one copy each of The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
  • One winner can be won by a Filipino reader
  • One winner will win a grand price of a signed copy of The Peculiar and a chance to Skype chat with Stefan Bachmann
  • Winners should response with their details within 48 hours
  • Check rafflecopter for more details

To enter fill out this rafflecopter form

Giveaway #2: PH Only!

What’s up for Grabs?

* Two copies of The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

The Rules:

  • Two winners of one copy each of The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
  • Open to Philippine residents only
  • Winners should response with their details within 48 hours
  • Ends Wednesday, January 25, 2013

To enter fill out this rafflecopter form

Good luck!!!

9 thoughts on “The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (Review & Giveaway)”

  1. I gave this one to my mom to read and review and she was thoroughly impressed by it as well! I can’t believe he was sixteen when he wrote it, I could barely be convinced to write a 5 page paper for school when I was sixteen. An author I am not:) So glad you enjoyed it, I’m hoping to get to it at some point, I love books that are as imaginative as this one so clearly is.


    1. the author is really impressive. It’s really hard to believe that at a young age he already wrote this book. And add the fact that he is also a musician, omg! I am really amazed! I think that’s one of the selling/marketing part of this book. Any fantasy readers will get curious when they read about the author’s background. Which is what happened to me.

      I hope you’ll be able to read this one too and hopefully review it as well. I’d love to know your thoughts about the book.


  2. The book with faeries in them, which I loved, is Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Artemis Fowl is a good one too. My sister loves the Iron Fey series by Julia Kagawa though. But I haven’t tried that one. The Peculiar looks interesting, like it’s another one of those series I can get hooked into. 🙂


    1. I haven’t read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel yet. If I got a copy I might try it. I only read the first book of Iron Fey series and sad to say I’m one of the minority who doesn’t like the first book as much as the others. But I might give the other books of the series a chance.

      The Peculiar is really interesting, I enjoy mostly the mystery part. As a middle grade book it is a bit mature. If you like mysteries and dark gritting novel you’ll definitely enjoy this one.


  3. Great review, now I’m looking forward to read this. Another peculiar and imaginative book that everyone must read.


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