The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Rated: YA/MG 12+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

I'd only recently started reading steampunk novels, and even then, it's pretty rare that I do. So far, all the ones that I have read have all been brilliant, and The Peculiars is certainly no exception. When I saw the fabulous cover, I knew, with the gears and the wings that this book was going to be different.
I really love the detail in which McQuerry illustrates this world. I have no idea if it was based on a real place (for the non-Scree places), but the world is so much more different than ours. The way the machines are described really shows the power of industry during that time period. Even the historical part of the novel seemed accurate, with no flaws in the way the characters talked, the way Lena perceives things– I could not find anything more descriptively captivating. There's something much more delectable about a story when history, steampunk and fantasy are all blended together.

I loved the characters. All of them were easy to warm up to. I loved Jimson! He's so friendly and so open, it was hard not to like him. I found Lena's character most of the time likable. At some parts however, she was reckless and did things before thinking. This made me frustrated, but her flaws are what make her the better character. I liked her determination to find out her past, and to find a way to get into Scree.
Thomas Saltre...ew. Okay, did not like him. Even though "ew" is not the right way to describe him, I hated him from the moment he arrives in this novel. I mean sure, he has that appeal to him with his looks and all, but please. With Jimson in this novel, I didn't even give Saltre a second glance.
For some reason, I kept on likening Mr. Beasley to Mr. Magorium (from Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium). They're both quite eccentric and love what they do. Nonetheless, he was a great character, and stood out from the others to be quite the original one. And of course, love Mrs. Mumbles the cat!

What I enjoyed the most about this book is that it's actually focused on the story. There's romance in this book, but I like that it wasn't the main storyline. I thought this allowed me more to actually get sucked into this world, without the influence of the characters or completely diverting all my attention to them. The beginning of the novel is a little slow though, but I love the way McQuerry builds it up to a fast-paced climatic scene.

The Peculiars is one novel not to miss. I'm not sure if there will be a sequel to it or not, but I feel that even if there isn't one, the story ended with enough substance to leave the reader content. I personally felt that it was enough, but of course, me being me, I can't resist if there's another one coming up! We'll just have to see. Don't skip over this one, you'll only regret it! Readers of all ages will love this one with it's gorgeous (yet dangerous) world and characters like none other.

**Thank you so much to Amulet Books (ABRAMS) for sending me The Peculiars for review!**

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1 comment:

  1. Oooo! This one does sound good. It has a beautiful cover, interesting premise, and I love that there is romance but that it isn't the WHOLE story. I'm going to have to try this one. I don't read nearly enough steampunk.


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