The Peculiar

The Peculiar

4.3 27
by Stefan Bachmann
     
 

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The international bestseller and debut novel by teenage author and classical musician Stefan Bachmann is part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part clockwork adventure. Best-selling author Rick Riordan said of The Peculiar, "Stefan Bachmann breathes fresh life into ancient magic."

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.<

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Overview

The international bestseller and debut novel by teenage author and classical musician Stefan Bachmann is part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part clockwork adventure. Best-selling author Rick Riordan said of The Peculiar, "Stefan Bachmann breathes fresh life into ancient magic."

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew and his little sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are Peculiars, and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them. But when Peculiars start showing up in London murdered and covered with red tattoos, Bartholomew breaks all the rules and gets himself noticed. Full of magic, dazzling inventions, and intriguing characters such as Mr. Jelliby and Lord Lickerish, this story of friendship, bravery, and nonstop action adventure was hailed by best-selling author Christopher Paolini as "swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended." The Peculiar ends with a spectacular cliff-hanger, and the story concludes in The Whatnot.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—This gripping debut novel opens with a prologue that describes how the fairies left their own land, came to England, fought a war with the humans, and lost, leading to a mechanical Age of Smoke where church bells, iron, and mechanics are used to prevent magic. In this alternative world, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister, Hettie, are changelings, also called Peculiars, children of a human mother and a faery father who has abandoned the family. They live in the faery slums of Bath and follow their mother's rule, "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged." When Bartholomew watches a beautiful lady from his window, she notices him, and his adventures begin. The lady is involved in a plot whose victims are changeling children, and when Hettie is kidnapped, Bartholomew joins forces with Arthur Jelliby, a member of Parliament who is investigating the plot and sees the boy as a person, not just a Peculiar. Arthur and Bartholomew begin to understand the scale of the plan and the danger that faces all of England, and they travel across the country to gather clues and save Hettie. Bachmann began writing this novel when he was only 16, and he's still a teenager, making the atmospheric writing and tense plotting even more of an accomplishment. The Peculiar combines fantasy, mystery, and suspense with a wry humor and unusual characters to create an intriguing, thought-provoking whole that will leave readers looking forward to sequels. Fans of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008) and young steampunk enthusiasts will find much here to enjoy.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
The New York Times Book Review
Here is a richly realized alternate Victorian world of elegant upper-class homes and squalid faerie slums. Filled with healthy doses of suspense and action, this is a story young fantasy buffs are sure to enjoy. And while he is bound to be compared to Christopher Paolini, whose Eragon was also published while he was still in his teens, Bachmann has written an accomplished book that deserves to be considered on its own.
—Monica Edinger
Publishers Weekly
When a teenager writes a publishable book, it’s noteworthy, but when the book is this good, it’s something special. Bachmann sets his tale in a polluted, steampunk Victorian England rendered even stranger by a faery invasion in the previous century. Some of the fay—like Lord Lickerish, Lord Chamberlain of England—have grown powerful, but most live in poverty, deeply distrusted by the natives, with the half-human changelings despised by everyone. Bartholomew, a changeling, sees a friend abducted by magic in broad daylight and later learns it is the latest in a string of disappearances. Meanwhile, a government official, Arthur Jelliby (“a very nice young man, which was perhaps the reason why he had never made much of a politician”), finds dangerous information linking Lord Lickerish to the kidnappings. Together Jelliby and Bartholonew uncover a horrible secret that might destroy England. Bachmann, now 18, has a polished and witty writing style; his characters are skillfully developed, the action is nonstop, and his faery society is fascinating. An absolute treat for readers of any age. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Los Angeles Times
“Polished and fun to read…Bachmann’s steampunk fairy tale…recalls Dostoevsky, Dickens, and more recent classics, such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.…Bachmann leavens the dark goings-on with whimsy…in spectacular and hilarious fashion.…[An] unusually gifted young writer.”
Booklist
“Imaginative, highly descriptive writing . . . Thrilling adventure.”
CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI
“Bachmann’s prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Bachmann writes next.”
RICK RIORDAN
“Stefan Bachmann’s sparkling debut is sure to get a lot of well-deserved notice. He breathes fresh life into ancient magic.”
Christopher Paolini
"Bachmann’s prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Bachmann writes next."
Rick Riordan
"Stefan Bachmann’s sparkling debut is sure to get a lot of well-deserved notice. He breathes fresh life into ancient magic."
Marie Lu
“The Peculiar has the kind of enchantment, whimsy, and utter wonder that stands the test of time. An astounding debut!”
Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Ready for a reading adventure? Dive into the world of The Peculiar to travel to a place filled with faeries, humans, hobgoblins, wolves that pull carriages, humans who live in luxury, and mechanical—that's right, mechanical—messenger birds. Unfortunately, Bartholomew (Barthy), our unlikely hero, is none of these. He is a peculiar, a changeling, half human and half faery. And in his world, a changeling is an abomination, detested by many and deserving of death. "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged" is the rule Bartholomew and his sister, Hettie, live by. Bartholomew could perhaps pass as human, even with his thin, wiry body, faery eyes like big, black pools, and chestnut hair, but Hettie, with her faery eyes, pointed ears, and green branches instead of hair, could not. When Barthy spies an odd, glamorous woman on their street, Old Crow Alley, then witnesses her kidnapping of a little peculiar from the Buddelbinster's house across the way, Barthy's instincts go on high alert. After that, when tales surface about changelings being murdered and found with their bodies hollowed out, Barthy resolves to protect his sister no matter what. Here, the worlds of Bath and London bear little resemblance to the real thing. Imagine an England whose architects are Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, Edgar Allen Poe, Disney, Lewis Carol, Dr. Seuss and H.G. Welles and you might understand the world Barthy must navigate in this remarkable first novel. Add in characters like Arthur Jelliby, Barthy's unlikely ally, and folks like John Wednesday Lickerish, Jack Box, a talkative greenwitch and more and you will have a compelling read that young readers shouldn't be able to put down. Bachmann is a masterful writer who ends this book with such a menacing cliff hanger that you will be anxious to grab a copy of this young author's second book, The Whatnot, as soon as possible. Whew! Reviewer: Judy Crowder
Kirkus Reviews
Goblins, faeries, gnomes, elflike fay, sylphs, automatons and changelings, oh my! In an alternate Victorian England where there are vertical cities, faery slums, gnome-driven taxis, and mechanical birds, changelings Bartholomew and his sister Hettie are labeled "peculiars" by the Church. Despised by both the Sidhe and the English upper-crust, they have been kept, confined and secret, in their house. When Bartholomew witnesses a boy changeling across the street being kidnapped by a mysterious woman in a frenzy of menacing black feathers, he becomes an unwitting pawn in a battle between the dark side and the humans. Tension mounts like a stack of teetering blocks as Bartholomew tries to rescue Hettie, who is in danger of becoming the 10th kidnapped changeling killed. Can he survive to save his sister? The open ending paves the way for sequels, and the intricately detailed descriptions of sinister scenes create palpable evil that will raise readers' hackles. The author was only 16 in 2010, when he began writing this fantasy stemming from British folklore and infused with a Dickensian flair; it's bound to be hyped like Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. Not to be confused with a new steampunk novel for teens with the title of The Peculiars, by Maureen McQuerry (2012). A promising, atmospheric fantasy debut. (Fantasy. 10-15)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062195203
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/18/2012
Series:
Peculiar , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
203,175
Lexile:
760L (what's this?)
File size:
857 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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What People are saying about this

Christopher Paolini

“Bachmann’s prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Bachmann writes next.”

Rick Riordan

“Stefan Bachmann’s sparkling debut is sure to get a lot of well-deserved notice. He breathes fresh life into ancient magic.”

Meet the Author

Stefan Bachmann is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Peculiar and its acclaimed sequel, The Whatnot. He was born in Colorado, spent most of his childhood in Switzerland, and is now studying modern music at the Zürich University of the Arts. When he’s not writing, he can be found traveling to someplace chilly, or holed up beneath his college in the dimly lit labyrinth of practice rooms, which may have inspired the subterranean scenes in A Drop of Night. That . . . and the Paris catacombs, a weird dream about a golden corridor, and a general interest in history.

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