Blog Tour - Book Review: The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

SERIES. The Peculiar
RELEASE DATE. September 18, 2012
PUBLISHER. Greenwillow Books
PAGES. 384
FORMAT. Paperback
AGE GROUP. Middle Grade
GENRE/S. Fantasy, Murder Mystery, Steampunk

SYNOPSIS. 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.

THOUGHTS. Amazing, breathtaking, gripping, incredible, magnificent, stupendous, wondrous . . . . There are so many good adjectives I find fitting for this book—just so many—that I can go on forever because the book deserves all of these praises.

As what its name suggests, The Peculiar isn't your usual fantasy story. Bachmann was able to carefully carve a gothic, magical world into the human world balancing it with the elements of steam-powered technology. Thus comes off fresh, ingenious and unique. Even the dark portrayal of our favorite childhood magical creatures—fairies, elves, goblins, sprites—added to my peculiar amusement.

What amuses me more is the creation of such beautiful and yet excitingly terrible world. The Peculiar world unfolds in your eyes like the most beautiful yet forbidding painting that slowly and colorfully comes alive with every brushstrokes. The world is too vivid that it's almost like I’m rooted within the borders of every gritty alleys, within the walls of every dim-lighted houses, within the buildings of the wealthy Victorian London. As it turned out, this is a world I’ll never want to get out.

Along with its beautiful, dark world, Bachmann introduced an unforgettable cast of faces of both pleasantness and monstrosity. Each of their story made a mark in me, heroes  and villains alike. Each of their antics, gestures, and voices made a mark in me. Even their silly-good names were all unforgettable: Bartholomew Kettle, Mr. Arthur Jelliby, Hettie Kettle, Jack Box, Melusine, Mr. Lickerish. They are weird but they all captivated and made a mark on me.

At a very young age, Bachmann has already championed with this one-of-a-kind debut book. He has the skill, the imagination, and the prowess that mirrors that of J. K. Rowling, Roald Dahl and other notable children's author. I couldn’t say anymore as I’m too speechless to go on. But mark my words and believe me when I say, this book will not only be every library’s best pick or a bestseller in every lists but will also capture the hearts and minds of every reader—children or adult alike. Stefan Bachmann could take it either as a compliment or a prediction. Either way, as long as he keeps writing, I’ll always be the first one lining for his books. With that said, I cannot wait for what’s next in this wonderful series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Stefan Bachmann is a writer and musician. He was born in Colorado and now lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland, where he attends the Zurich Conservatory. He began writing THE PECULIAR in 2010, when he was sixteen years old.

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