The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get yourself hanged.
Those are the words to live by for changelings like Bartholomew Kettle and his sister, Hettie. But when a mysterious woman in a plum-colored dress comes through Old Crow Alley, Bortholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Arthur Jelliby unwillingly becomes entangled in a mystery involving the murders of several half-faery children— and honor-bound to try and save the next target.
Arthur Jelliby was a very nice young man, which was perhaps the reason why he had never made much of a politician.
The Peculiar is a steampunk fairytale set in London after a war between humans and the fae. The writing is both beautiful and classic, with striking descriptions, action-packed sequences, and a whole lot of suspense. Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby serve as dual heroes, unraveling the mystery from opposite ends and providing new insights to what the reader has already uncovered.
In a pinch Bartholomew might still pass as a human child, but not Hettie. There was no mistaking the faery blood in her veins. For where Bartholomew had a mess of chestnut hair growing out of his scalp, Hettie had the smooth, bare branches of a young tree.
When I began this story, I was expecting a mystery, but ended up with more of a thriller that kept a steady and growing tension; making it very difficult to use a bookmark. The Peculiar does have some elements and characters that are a bit dark compared to standard mainstream stereotypes of the middle grade genre. If you like a dash of creepy without getting too graphic or violent, The Peculiar is going to be perfect for you.
⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ ⬢ FIVE STARS
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