The Peculiar (The Peculiar, #1)
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The Peculiar (The Peculiar #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,995 ratings  ·  523 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...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Greenwillow Books
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Lindsay Cummings
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
Full review at the Intergalactic Academy.

Buzz can be a dangerous thing–while it does get the word out, it can also raise jealous hackles. When I heard of Stefan Bachmann’s debut novel during BEA’s Middle Grade Buzz Panel, I have to admit I braced myself for an underwhelming reading experience. It turns out, I was completely wrong. The Peculiar is a charming, sophisticated fairy story with light steampunk trappings. The prose is beautifully crafted; the universe sophisticated. Though I still beli...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
I think it's utterly unfair how good a writer Stefan Bachmann is, considering how young he is. I mean, take a look at these lines:

pg. 4
"A well-starched man named Briggs"

pg. 5 (re: the war between humans and faeries, called The Smiling War for the number of skulls!)
"They [the Sidhe] did not follow rules, or line up like tin soldiers."

pg. 67
"A low table had been laid with edibles. The faery butler drifted in with a silver kettle, and then everything looked very respectable and English-like. It did...more
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...more
Claire Legrand
Just finished THE PECULIAR this morning on the train. It was an absolutely FABULOUS read -- elaborate world-building, endearing (and terrifying!) characters (especially my favorite, Mr. Jelliby), and truly beautiful prose. Several scenes thoroughly creeped me out, and the ending took my breath away. Full of adventure and mystery, horror and wonder, THE PECULIAR was just that -- peculiar, and unforgettable, in the best of ways. I can't WAIT to see what happens next in this series. Love, love, lov...more
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...more
Book Whales
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...more
Brandy Painter
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...more
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-colore
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...more
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....more
Rich, fantastic world that grows deeper and deeper. The world is harsh, unforgiving, and often brutal in ways that are simply (and wonderfully) unfair. The curious thing is that of the two POVs, I rapidly found myself more immersed in that of a "nice man" rather than of the boy I thought would be the focus of the novel.

I loved the story telling, the pacing, and the action, but at the end, when the story abruptly cut off, it came as a bit of a shock. The book didn't label itself as "1/2 a great s...more
Kim McGee
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
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...more
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.

If you liked this book, you might also enjoy:
The Hunchback Assignments
The Folk Keeper
So the summary of this book calls it a faery-steampunk novel. I'm not going to lie, whenever I hear the word steampunk I shy away. I'm not sure what it is, or whether I like it. If this book is an example of it, then I like it!

Sometimes I feel like a massive contradiction. I will say to myself 'I hate books with young male characters in the lead, I never understand their perspective'. Then I remember Harry Potter. And Percy Jackson. Hell, even Lavan Firestorm from one of my favorite Mercedes Lac...more
Peter Millane
~This review originally appeared on

On a recent trip to my local discount book shop I came across this cover that instantly drew me in. I knew nothing about the plot but I recognised it from a book haul on youtube and decided to pick it up as the price was fantastic. I'm so glad I took that chance.

Set in a steampunk fantasy version of Britain, The Peculiar surprised me with a mature voice and well detailed world building. I was actually shocked to find out that the author,...more
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
Imagine a steampunk-laced London that is populated not only with human Londoners, but also faeries, changelings and other mysterious, magical creatures. Bartholomew is a changeling, who, along with his younger sister, Hettie, has been in hiding for fear of being seen. He's grown up with his mother saying to him, "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged." And, it turns out, he and Hettie have very good reason to hide because when they do get noticed, their world turns upside...more
Von P.
Amazing, breathtaking, gripping, incredible, magnificent, stupendous, wondrous..

There are so many good adjectives I find fitting for this book—just too many—that it left my mind almost impaired.

As what its name suggested, The Peculiar isn't a common fantasy story. Bachmann was able to carefully carve a Gothic, magical world into the human world balancing it with the elements of steam-powered technology. Thus comes off fresh, ingenious and unique. Even the dark portrayal of our favorite childhood...more
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
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...more
This is my first jaunt into the world of Steampunk and I really don't know how I feel about it. My favourite part of the book was actually the prologue (yes, strange I know). I understand why the worlds Faery and Smoke idea works well together, although this seems to favour the humans rather than the Fae, what with all that debilitating iron around.

The characters are likeable enough although Hettie, by far is the most adorable. The writing creates some great imagery as well.

I guess the biggest t...more
The Rusty Key
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...more
Lyra Gill
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...more

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...more
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have you read it yet? 9 21 Jan 27, 2014 08:56AM  
Expectations for #2? 1 9 Mar 31, 2013 06:47AM  
HarperCollins Int...: Twitter Party This Saturday 1 18 Feb 01, 2013 02:56AM  
HarperCollins Int...: Our Blogtour for The Peculiar has kicked off! 8 40 Jan 26, 2013 07:14PM  
HarperCollins Int...: International Blog Tour for The Peculiar! 16 71 Dec 21, 2012 08:36AM  
Pronunciation of Gaelic words/names 2 14 Nov 22, 2012 08:33AM  
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Stefan Bachmann is a music student and author currently living in a very old house outside of Zürich, Switzerland. His debut, gothic-steampunk-faery-fantasy THE PECULIAR was published on September 18th, 2012, by Greenwillow/HarperCollins. It was a New York Times Editor's Choice as well as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012, and was translated into eight languages. Its companion THE WHATNOT was...more
More about Stefan Bachmann...
The Whatnot (The Peculiar, #2) The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister Dead Man's Palace Untitled Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

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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.” 17 likes
“It was called the Smiling War because it left so many skulls, white and grinning, in the fields.” 6 likes
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