by: Stefan Bachmann
read by: Peter Altschuler
audio review: Peter Altschuler did a fantastic job with this audio. I loved listening to his accent, and his interpretation of the voices. He's one of those narrators that you'll find yourself repeating phrases while listening, because it's just so fun! Another really fun thing about this audio was the inclusion of some music that Stefan Bachmann composed specifically for this book. I definitely recommend this one on audio.
book review: I've been excited about this one ever since I saw the fantastic cover. I'd like one of those birds, please. Add that with the fact that Bachmann is only 16, and I was very intrigued.
The Peculiar is a imaginative middle grade with a killer combination of gothic, fantasy, and steampunk elements. It's really beautifully written. Though it is targeted at middle grade readers, I think that it's maybe best suited for readers just a tad bit older.
From the very beginning, Bachmann sets up a underground faery world within London that is mysterious and foggy as its setting in Bath. There are clockwork birds, half-faery children, and a very reluctant hero that I really enjoyed.
The story is told from the point of view of Bartholomew Kettle, a changeling child that lives in the faery slums of Bath with his mother and sister. They live very quietly so as not to be noticed and persecuted by both faeries and humans. Since they are half of both, they are accepted by neither. The other POV is Arthur Jelliby, who is unwillingly dragged into Bartholomew's world when he stumbles upon a very sinister plot being cooked up by Mr. Lickerish.
The plot is ambitious, and though I enjoyed the set-up and journey, I wish that more substantial development happened just a bit sooner. As the beginning of the series though, it did set up the subsequent novels very nicely, and I can't wait to read more!