Magic and Mystery: A Review of THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann

The Peculiar 
Stefan Bachmann
384 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 18th, 2013
Source: Hardcover from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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.

Bartholomew Kettle is a changeling. Changelings have one important rule: don’t get yourself noticed, and you won’t get yourself hanged. One might think that is an easy task to do, especially in the faery slums of Bath. But Bartholomew gets himself noticed, and his life is about to be changed forever.

Arthur Jelliby is a nice politician from Parliament. He was my favorite character. He had his own type of humor, and was really likable. Mr. Jelliby is sucked into an adventure he never could have imagined – all because he went looking for a privy room. Finding himself in all the wrong places, Mr. Jelliby gets information that he doesn’t need. But now, he’s the only one who can save London, and possibly all of England.

Because the Sidhe fay are tired of being treated as commoners.

Twisting and turning, “The Peculiars”, is an unpredictable delight. I loved this book the moment I started it. Magic twists here and there, adventure too, yet there is a sadness – bitterness – that motivates the characters a lot. It’s a lot darker than most middle grade novels, and I’ve read quite a lot of them! Stefan Bachmann wrote the story in third person point of view, sometimes giving snippets from the villain’s point of view, something you don’t always see. Ending as a cliff-hanger, a follow-up is bound to come (and I’ve heard it has already released!). “The Peculiars” is a great book for fans of magic and mysteries.

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Azraa is a 12-year-old homeschooler and avid reader. When we say reader, we mean always-stuck-inside-a-book reader. It's like a disease. But that's a good thing, right?



  1. Reply

    Kit Grindstaff

    December 24, 2013

    Yay Azraa! Another awesome sister! I loved this book too. Haven’t yet read the sequel but it’s high on my list!

    Happiest of holidays to you all.

  2. Reply

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