HarperCollins, together with National Bookstore, organized The Peculiar Blog Tour here in the Philippines! All the better, there are also tours happening right now all over the world! Come and join us in this fantastic tour and win great prizes! I’m the second stop in the Philippine tour and I am here with a review, a video of Stefan Bachmann and two giveaways plus announcements!
Title: The Peculiar (The Peculiar #1)
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: September 18, 2012
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.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Wow, Stefan Bachmann! I bow down to you and your awesomeness. Well, that might be redundant because Stefan Bachmann = amazing! If you don’t know, Stefan started writing The Peculiar when he was 16 years old, back in 2010. By 2012, it’s already published. I mean, he’s only 18! Below, you can watch a video of him talking about the Philippine blog tour and he’s just so cute! He’s even younger than me and it makes me feel so unaccomplished. Haha! So, praises and spazzes for Stefan aside, let’s talk about The Peculiar.
The world Stefan built was so wonderful, I was rendered speechless. I don’t know how he did it but he just did. The setting was so rich, I can smell Old Crow Alley, see the grime, feel the fog that envelops this Victorian London, everything. It’s a read that will make use of all of your senses. That is how detailed Stefan’s writing is. However, the pace was thus compromised. With taking too much time establishing the world Bartholomew inhabits in and introducing the characters, there was not much action for the most part of the novel. It kind of drags right from the start. The conflict took time to develop and it only picks up near the end. This might be a dealbreaker for some readers but I suggest you just soldier on because you wouldn’t want to miss this tale Bachmann has created.
Though marketed as a middle grade novel, I do think its target audience are actually young adults. The Peculiar is written in a little bit of old English and reading it requires advanced language skills. But maybe that’s just me as English is not my first language and I would certainly not understand this if I were in middle grade.
As lifted from the blurb, The Peculiar is part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy and part steampunk adventure. You might be doubting how the heck Stefan mishmashed all those genres together and how a novel with all of those attributes will fit into one cohesive story but once again, he did it and brilliantly, can I just say. It’s no overselling because The Peculiar is all that. I love how all these components just mashed up together terrifically. Bachmann possibly chose the best place and time to set this story up. I’m just a fan of his writing. His writing is alternately humorous and somber, apt for the constant gloomy Bath where this story happens. It’s definitely in Stefan’s writing that this novel shines above the rest. It’s poetic and romantic, with all the drones and drawl, taking its time.
Bartholomew is so likable and lovable, I just wanna bring him home and have a little changeling for a brother. I just imagine him to be cute even if the book doesn’t explicitly say so. Maybe The Peculiar is considered a middle grade novel because the main character is young but I still think young adults and adults alike wouldn’t find it hard to relate to Bartholomew. He’s a peculiar and thus, he is lonely as he lives by the motto: Don’t get yourself noticed and you won’t get hanged. I mean, how sad is it to be shunned from the society, hated by both humans and fae, when you’re half of both? He just wants a friend, that is all. I just wanna tuck him in my pocket and feed him non-wax soup. I kinda failed with picturing Mr. Jelliby as I thought he’s a middle-aged man for a large part of the book, only to realize he’s not. Fail. Overall, the characters were interesting and flawed but what fun are perfect characters?
As for the ending, I was actually sort of surprised that the novel ended at that point, with a lot more room to explore because I didn’t know that it’s a series. After researching, I learned that this is the first book of the series and it all made sense. While I am not eagerly anticipating the next book, I will definitely read it.
Lastly, the cover. It’s beyond gorgeous. Not just the intricate and interesting design but if you touch it, the texture feels embossed and it’s just so nice to hold. (end of superficiality)
I recommend this to readers into fantasy as it is a fantasy through and through. However, it is a slow read and the ante comes almost at the end. I think fantasy readers will have no problem reading this as you guys are used to world building and slow establishing chapters. But for contemporary-loving people, this might be too slow for you. Still, give it a chance because Stefan Bachmann’s prose is a definite must-read. Descriptive is an understatement. Imaginative is also an understatement. Vivid is an understatement. Maybe multiply all these together and you’ll get The Peculiar.
About Stefan Bachmann
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.
Here’s a video of Stefan Bachmann speaking some Filipino! So cute!
This is one epic blog tour because there are tons of participants and tons of prizes!
1. PH only giveaway
There will be two winners of one printed copy of The Peculiar and this is open to Philippine residents only.
2. International giveaway
One winner of a signed hardcover from the Philippines! Plus, there’s a grand prize of a signed copy of The Peculiar and a Skype chat with Stefan!!!
There will be a Twitter party at the end of the tour, on February 2. I will announce the hashtag to be used as soon as it’s decided. Wee!
There will be a scavenger hunt too but the details are still being finalized. Come back here soon!
Check Pinoy Book Tours for the schedule of the Philippine tour!