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The Peculiar (The Peculiar #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  3,357 Ratings  ·  648 Reviews
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 thr
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Greenwillow Books
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Lynn This is a BRILLIANT book and I strongly recommend that you read it. To tell you what it is about would be to spoil the experience!!!!

Community Reviews

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Lindsay Cummings
Sep 13, 2012 Lindsay Cummings rated it it was amazing
dude's 18, and he writes like a freakin 1800's poet.(Buy this book)
To begin with this novel was well-written but not very engaging. There is a lot of ambitious world building but at times it feels cobbled together. The language while very descriptive failed to create much of an atmosphere. A lot of time is spent describing things instead of letting the reader use their imagination. The world is described very thoroughly while the characters are left with few personality traits and no features. Also more time could have been spent setting the stage in the beginn ...more
Ich habe mich ausnahmsweise im Rahmen einer Challenge aus meiner typischen Lesekomfortzone herausbewegt, bin ins unbekannte Genre der Young/Adult-Fantasy eingetaucht und muss sagen, es war großartig!

Was hat sich dieser 16-jährige Autor (ist das wirklich möglich?) da einfallen lassen – so viel Fantasie und eine grandiose Mischung aus den unterschiedlichsten literarischen Elementen.

In Bath, England irgendwann im 19. Jahrhundert öffnet sich ein Portal, und unzählige verschiedene Feenwesen überschwe
Hello everyone, it's me, Magic! With a capital M that is. You know, the concept. When you say "It's magic" then you're referring to me.
Being the concept of magic in today's world is pretty tough. Back in the old days I was quite strong, but today. Thanks to Youtube vidoes of little kittens doing whatever little kittens do, the concept of cuteness is bigger than me. Cuteness! We used to laugh at that concept! In the Middle Ages we would have wiped the floor with...ah forget it.

So, what does the c
Nov 05, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
The author was only 16 when he started writing this, but you really wouldn't know unless someone told you. Some beautiful metaphors and passages throughout, just very well written. Reminded me of the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Strout in setting; the rainy and foggy portrayal of London, lots of scenes taking place at night, many magical beings around.

VERY UPSET when I finished. I read it on my Nook so I wasn't sure how close I was to the end (which can be a perk or a problem, depending on the
Thank God that's over.

The guy can write. He really can. But I fell asleep several times while reading this. I took a shower with it playing, and was thinking I may even fall asleep in there listening to it!! (I didn't.)

Pros: Terrific cover. Audio is very well done. He writes like a British author (a high compliment, coming from me). He seems to know England well (and he was 16 when he started writing this), yet he was born in Colorado, and now lives in Switzerland. He writes in some respects li
Bachmann, you rock dude.

My love and fondness for middle grade novel brought my interest in The Peculiar, and truth to be spoken; I was left absolutely and utterly mesmerized by this gripping and enchanting gothic mystery.
If you have very sweet idea of faery folks being beautiful and charming, then let me warn you, they are charming indeed but a very haunting way.

Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie are changelings, known as Peculiars and hated by both humans and Faes. When a mysterious lad
Apr 09, 2013 Alison rated it it was ok
I really didn't care for this book for several reasons. I think the biggest problem for me was that none of the characters were really engaging to me...I didn't care for any of them, they were not terribly well developed in my opinion and I just didn't much care what happened to any of them.

This book takes place in a world where Fairies have come to England and more or less gotten trapped there. The fairies arrival resulted in a mass destruction of Bath in England so the fairies so you are imme
Book Whales
Feb 02, 2013 Book Whales rated it it was amazing
Originally posted @ Book Whales

When it comes to books about fey, I always look for a good world-building. The Peculiar did not dissapoint. Stefan made a world so colorful and vivid. I don’t usually read middle-grade books, but this book became an exception. I love how it will test your imagination. A story bursting with colors, action and mystery, I was addicted.

The story took place in a world where faeries were trapped in our world and an imminent war between human and faeries is about to expl
Nov 17, 2015 Nafiza rated it really liked it
I kind of loved this book. For reasons that are completely my own and probably because I study books and analyze them and read into them far more than just the story. However before I get into those reasons, let’s discuss the book itself. The cover is gorgeous. It’s bright and interesting and sure to catch the eyes of the intended audience. And even though it does not say so in the cover or elsewhere in the synopsis (I don’t think) the book has steampunk elements that I like very much.

The beginn
Original Link to the review at my blog Le' Grande Codex - here

The cover draws you in..... doesn't it. Presenting The Peculiar #1 The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann.

Here is the summary of the book:

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-colo
Feb 07, 2015 nettebuecherkiste rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, jugend
Bath, irgendwann im 19. Jahrhundert. Bartholomew Kettle und seine Schwester Hettie sind Mischlinge – ihr Vater ist ein Sídhe, ein Feenwesen, ihre Mutter ein Mensch. Sie leben mit ihrer menschlichen Mutter in einem heruntergekommenen Viertel von Bath, wo die meisten Feenwesen leben, sie stellen die Unterschicht der Gesellschaft dar. Doch Mischlinge werden von beiden Seiten angefeindet. So sehr, dass Bartholomew und Hettie, bei der ihre Feenherkunft besonderes offensichtlich ist, kaum vor die Tür ...more
Brandy Painter
Dec 06, 2012 Brandy Painter rated it really liked it
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Ancient Faery lore brought into an alternate history/steampunk world? Was there any doubt that I would want to read a book with all that? Noooo. (Also the cover. Look at that cover. It's beautiful.) I'm happy to say The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann did not disappoint.

Let me start by saying Bachmann can write. Oh can he ever. Exactly the right amount of description, vivid imagery, excellent plotting. The story is fast paced and, like all the bes
Jun 29, 2016 Bailey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, to-buy
He didn't care if the faeries hated him, or the people feared him. He was stronger than them.

In a different kind of world where people and faeries collide, magic is waiting to happen. It is here that Bartholomew Kettle, a Peculiar, lives in the faery slums. Like any other Peculiar, he is looked down upon and shunned. His life is formed by following the most important rule he knows: Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged. While his life has not been easy, he still holds on.
Kim McGee
Sep 29, 2012 Kim McGee rated it really liked it
I loved the inventive story of this young author's debut. Stefan Bachmann wrote this when he was 16 and it is a lovely combination of gothic horror, steampunk (for all you Leviathan fans)and fairy tale. Bartholomew and his sister Hettie live in Bath where there has been an ethnic cleansing of sorts - someone is killing all the changlings and the children have gone into hiding. Bartholomew wishes for a domestic fairy against the wishes of his mum. When Hettie is taken, Bartholomew must find her a ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The Peculiar is wonderfully written and the worldbuilding is inventive and excellent. I do find its London reminiscent of Jonathan Stroud's London, with its fey and its Parliament, and I think the tone is similar as well - there's almost a playfulness, a love of its exciting world, circling the building dread - but it's a tone found so rarely that I welcomed it gladly.

The characterization was a bit weak, but it was redeemed by the sense that the characters were swept up in a rush of inevitabilit
Ticklish Owl
This was like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (one of my favorite books) for a younger audience. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as maybe
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Wanda
This book was recommended to you by Wanda

“Described as Mr Norrel for kids with a dash of the Bartimeus trilogy. Oh boy!”

sounds just my thing for a mid winter snuggled up read.

17.02,2014: dropped this down from wishlist to maybe

Aline Ramos
Sep 24, 2014 Aline Ramos rated it really liked it
Muito criativo e diferente.
The Rusty Key
Sep 24, 2012 The Rusty Key rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Both boys and girls, ages 10 and up if they’re particularly strong readers, but more generally, 12 and up for moderate violence against children and overall complexity of plot.

One Word Summary: Cinematic.

Eighteen year-old Stefan Bachmann said that when he was sixteen and began writing The Peculiar he simply wanted to create a story that he would have loved when he was a kid. Having read those words in a letter from the publisher o
Shanshad Whelan
In a world where a cataclysmic event triggered the arrival of the fae in Britain 100s of years prior, the country has done its level best to mitigate the damages of magic after winning the war against the fae folk by introducing mechanical, gear laden technology to their country and putting the fairies and goblins to work in factories, until they become just one more faction of British society. Our main protagonists are a young "changeling" (in this book meaning half fae, half human)boy and a yo ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Dec 01, 2012 Dark Faerie Tales rated it really liked it
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A creative and wonderful world told through a youthful mind but enjoyable by all.

Opening Sentence: Feathers fell from the sky.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

There is something about the cover of Stefan Bachmann’s The Peculiar that draws me in. This Middle Grade fantasy book has the promises of greatness, and I was very lucky to have received a copy for review. With all of the great praises of this debut, it was a surprise to hear that Bachmann wrote
Jocelyn (foxonbooks)
Sometime around the 19th century, the faeries came to England. "Goblins and satyrs, gnomes, sprites and the elegant, spindly white beings with their black, black eyes." The Smiling War between the humans and the fae was so-called because of the sheer number of grinning, white skulls it left behind in the fields. But in the end even the faeries' magic was no match for the numbers of red-coated soldiers sent against them with cannon and gunpowder, and the remaining Hidden People were relocated to ...more
Sep 01, 2012 Justin rated it really liked it
You never really know what you're going to get yourself into when you dive into a book. And The Peculiar is a prefect example of that. I feel like the "Middle Grade" labeling can be somewhat deceiving, it was a much darker book than I had originally thought it would be. Not in a bad way though, I just wasn't expecting it to be quite as gritty especially later on in the book, even though the synopsis mentions some pretty gritty things. Stefan is a fantastic writer though, I was really impressed w ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Aeicha rated it it was amazing
THREE WORDS: Enchanting & Whimsically Dark

I've been looking forward to reading Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar for awhile now, drawn to the intriguing steampunk and fantasy midde-grade premise, and I'm happy to report that it not only lived up to my expectations, but I really loved it as well!

Bartholomew Kettle and his little sister are changelings, half human and half fae children, and are knows as Peculiars. The siblings live with their mother in the faery slums of Bath and do everything
Title: The Peculiar
Author: Stefan Bachmann
Publication Information: Greenwillow Books, 2012
Age group: Ages 9-12
Topics: Steampunk, Faery, Adventure, Magic, Murder, Fantasy
Notes: Stefan Bachman was only 16 when he started writing this and 19 when it was published. Well written and getting a lot of buzz. First in a series.

Summary: Changeling Bartholomew witnesses a boy’s kidnapping from his window in the Faery slums of Bath and then learns that his friend is the ninth changeling to die. Bartholom
Brad Sells

Stefan Bachmann's debut novel, THE PECULIAR, was absolutely stunning! THE PECULIAR is quite possibly the best middle grade novel I've ever read, and it will be adored by readers of any age.

I knew that I wanted to read this book ever since I heard of it. So when Harper offered it on Edelweiss, I pounced on it. Thanks for approving me, Harper! And when I started reading this book, I was sucked in from the very first few words. And I didn't s
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
Review also on

This book gave me the feeling of reading Harry Potter mixed with Neil Gaiman’s work. And let me say you this, that feeling is fantastic! It felt like I was back in one of my favorite series ever.

Once upon a time there was a city called Bath. That was until strange things started to happen. The faeries slipped into the world and the Smiling wars began until humans converged on the fay and scattered them. The ages of Smoke started in New B
Ronald Lim
Jan 09, 2013 Ronald Lim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review here!

It’s immediately clear from the book’s prologue that the buzz around Bachmann doesn’t stem from his age alone. Three pages into the book and it’s obvious that he wields his words well; his description of the grisly end met by scientists sent to investigate the faery invasion in the city of Bath is effective in its sparseness.

This efficiency is present throughout the book. Bachmann expertly builds a world that readers will find easy to get lost in. In “The Peculiar”, England is a
Lyra Gill
Feb 06, 2013 Lyra Gill rated it really liked it
This review is also posted HERE.

It's been a few hours since I've finished this novel and yet my mind is still positively reeling with images of the world cleverly crafted by Bachmann. Readers of my blog ought to know by know just how much I value good world-building, and I was thrilled to find out that Bachmann took immense care in creating the world of The Peculiar. Every detail was rich; every minute detail was explored thoroughly so as to give readers the best reading experience possible. Fro
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have you read it yet? 9 22 Jan 26, 2014 07:56PM  
Expectations for #2? 1 10 Mar 30, 2013 06:47PM  
HarperCollins Int...: Twitter Party This Saturday 1 19 Jan 31, 2013 01:56PM  
HarperCollins Int...: Our Blogtour for The Peculiar has kicked off! 8 41 Jan 26, 2013 06:14AM  
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Pronunciation of Gaelic words/names 2 15 Nov 21, 2012 07:33PM  
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Stefan Bachmann was born in Colorado and spent of most of his childhood in Switzerland, where he's now a student of music at the Zürich University of Arts.

His debut, gothic-faery-fantasy THE PECULIAR, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012, and was translated into eight languages. Its companion, THE WHATNOT, was released on September 24th, 2013.

More about Stefan Bachmann...

Other Books in the Series

The Peculiar (2 books)
  • The Whatnot (The Peculiar, #2)

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“Arthur Jelliby was a very nice young man, which was perhaps the reason why he had never made much of a politician.” 21 likes
“It was called the Smiling War because it left so many skulls, white and grinning, in the fields.” 10 likes
More quotes…