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The Various (Touchstone Trilogy #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  883 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Now available in paperback with gorgeous new cover art!

A captivating story of courage and strength against terrible odds, this is the story of Midge, left to stay with her eccentric uncle during the holidays, and her adventures with the Various, a band of fairies. The existence of the Various, who are strange, wild, and sometimes even deadly, has been kept secret since the
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 8th 2005 by Yearling (first published August 7th 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Louise Spiegler
I'm not a huge fan of fairies, elves and other critters of that nature. But I am a fan of great writing, strong atmosphere, great characters and dialogue, and this book has all of that in spades. When Midge goes to her uncle's farm in Somerset for the summer and first encounters the fields and tangled forests, the old house and dilapidated (and dangerous) out-buildings, it really is magical -- because of Augarde's beautiful evocation of place and character. Her bumbling uncle, mother in career o ...more
I picked this up because I liked the cover and title. Having finished the book, I suspect both were marketing gimmicks to make the books seem more intriguing. Not that it sucked or anything, but it wasn't novel or mysterious the way I had been hoping. A pretty standard kid-staying-at-old-family-home-discovers-secret-supernatural-whatever fantasy. Moderately interesting to read. Pacing a bit off, with the second half feeling much more full than the first and introducing most of the secondary char ...more
I think I was, like, three pages into this when I was set to give it five stars! What a perfect gem of a book - it starts off wonderfully and actually never, ever falters. The whole thing is charming and magical and absolutely top-notch.

The plot is one that's been done before... kid (Midge) finds some kind of magical creature (in this case, first Pegs the miniature winged horse and then the rest of the Various) who lives in the woods by her house (or her Uncle's) which are about to be sold off/d

Attempt 1:

The little that i did read of this book, was not very good in my opinion. It just didn't make me want to read on.

Attempt 2:

I have to finish the first two books in this series, to get my friend to read the first two Skulduggery Pleasant books.
I'll try not to die of boredom.


Is it - could the torture actually be over (temporarily)
And now i get to write a review about why i hate this book so much.

This book was boring for many different reasons:

1. The way people spoke in this book
How many pages do you read of a book before you decide its fate? Can you know within one page if you love it? How many chapters do you endure if you hate it? What if your feelings are simply neutral? All these questions have been debated by readers. Some readers hold to a 5-sentence rule; others to a 5-page rule; while a few doggedly persevere no matter what to the end. Myself, I’m normally pretty tolerant of a novel. It’s been almost a year since I abandoned one. Yet I came close to quitting on ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Joan Stradling for

Twelve-year-old Midge has been sent to stay with her Uncle Brian at Mill Farm while her musician mother goes on tour.

Though she's not sure what to expect, Midge never dreamed of the adventures she'd encounter at the farm. She stumbles upon an injured winged horse in one of the outbuildings and helps the creature. She learns the horse lives in the Royal Wood. Unfortunately, Uncle Brian has decided to sell the woods and they are set to be plowed down.
Anne Mathison
Such a disappointment: I enjoyed The Various so much and looked forward to the next installment. I read Celandine a first time, but didn't want to be too judgemental after a once over. So I read it again - and what a let down. Don't get me wrong, I can't fault the eloquent poetry of the language, or the ability to set the scene, but to use the term 'overcook' would be an understatement. Mr. Augarde is way too dependent on long overdescriptive passages and doesn't offer the reader the opportunity ...more
I wonder why Midge isn't that shy of her uncle. When I got sent to live with someone else I was shy of her for a really long time. (Actually I still kind of am, and I always wait a really long time for her to move so I can get food out of her refrigerator). There's a really good looking blue drink she has, but I'm always too scared to ask her if I can have some. But I really want to try it!
I barely got passed page 60 and I struggled to read my (personally) required 10%.

The idea, from what I can gather, is a good one and I like faerie stories normally but the opening to this is just too slow for me and I couldn't care less about the characters. The descriptions are long-winded and overly simplified - perhaps it's just a little too 'young-adult' for me? The illustrations are lovely though! And maybe if I try this at another time, I'll be able to find a place for it in my heart.
I LOVED this book! It has all the ingredients of my favourite childhood books - perfectly ordinary girl stumbles on something extraordinary and has an adventure. Midge (whose real name is Margaret) is a believable character and I liked her a lot. I especially liked that, when she was in danger, she thought about the best thing to do (for example, realising that hiding in something would mean being trapped once she was found) instead of panicking and doing the exact opposite of the sensible thing ...more
For a theme as common as 'girl stumbles into a hidden world of strange creatures', this book seems to find the right balance of hitting all the notes you'd want from such a book, while not feeling like any of the others. It doesn't quite follow any formulaic plot arc, but instead weaves a tapestry of events, none of which happened in the way I would have guessed. It's not exactly fast-paced, but it makes up for that in its richness of the world the author has created. A world that might feel mag ...more
This was wonderful! I can not wait to read the sequels and I also know I'll have to reread this at some point, as I feel like I forgot about a few seeds Steve Augarde planted earlier in story, and only picked up again at the very end.

Anyway, this is slightly reminiscent of the Spiderwick Chronicles, but does definitely follow its own storyline. It also has a very different cast of characters. And a British one, might I add.

It's one of those stories where you kind of sense where it's going to go,
Raven R.
Well this book made no sense.

Between the fairy people who spoke gibberish the action cut with dull and boring description, the book was so hard to follow that I stopped trying to understand what I was reading and just went to getting it finished.

To begin with, it was a slow start. It took a good couple chapters to get me into it. Once I did get into it I was curious to see how everything unraveled and was shocked to see that everything pretty much exploded in the span of two days or three days
An enchanting cover; the story, not so much.

It took five separate attempts over the last two months before I could finally push my way through to the end. Midge didn't talk, act or react like a 12-year-old girl, and I found the adults all rather self-involved and unlikable. So there weren't any characters with whom I really felt a strong connection.

The world of the Various should have been exciting and mesmerizing, but it just wasn't. It needed more oomph! I was almost - and I loathe to say this
Have you ever read a book that you weren't sure you liked while reading, but then couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards? The Various, by Steve Augarde was one of those books for me. It took me a month to read it because I had several other books taking precedence, but once I gave it my undivided attention I did enjoy it.
The main character is a girl who's mother is a professional violinist. She goes to spend time with her uncle on his farm while her mother is on tour. She loves the farm and
I have to say that when I first picked up 'The Various' around age ten, I found the book rather tedious despite my love of the subject matter - fairies, or 'the little people'. I, however, persisted, and made my way through 'Celandine', the prequel to 'The Various' and 'Winetr Wood'. I enjoyed 'Celandine' much more than 'The Various' yet failed to pick up a copy of 'Winter Wood' until sometime earlier this year. Having reread the first two books in the trilogy, I can now appreciate the near-flaw ...more
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to fans of Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket, et cetera. This book may even be slightly better than what I've read from those authors. It's decent YA entertainment. However, I have to admit that that's just not good enough for me... and in fact, I only skim-read the second half of the novel. More and more often I'm finding that a genre novel (and YA is certainly a genre of its own) just doesn't hold my interest if it isn't clearly one of the ...more
Kimberly Hirsh
When Midge's mother goes on a tour with the London Philharmonic, she sends Midge to Mill Farm to stay with her Uncle Brian. There, Midge finds an injured flying horse named Pegs. As she helps Pegs, she is drawn into a world of small and magical people called "The Various." The Various live in the woods near her Uncle's farm, and their livelihood is threatened both by the barrenness of the land and the possibility of the forest's destruction.

To say much more about the plot of The Various would be
Twelve-year-old Midge is sent to stay on her uncle's West Country farm for the summer holidays. She's bored and lonely until the day she finds a tiny winged horse lying injured in an outbuilding and goes to its rescue.[return][return]So far, so ordinary there's a band of tiny people living in the woods on the hill, and Midge finds herself caught up in their lives and problems but the depiction of the tiny people, the 'Various' themselves, sets this book apart: they're a far cry from the ethereal ...more
You know, at first I rather liked the detailed descriptions, especially when our protagonist first gets to the farm. But then good grief, when I realised how long it was taking to get through one damned scene, just getting our protagonist to solve one lone situation, my impatience and disbelief kicked in. Not just that but my writer disapproval reared its head. When that happens, it's pretty serious. And the loooooong horribly pedantic descriptions persisted, so much so that I began to get quite ...more
Adam Boisvert
What distinguishes The Various from the plethoria of fairy fiction out there is the nature of the eponymous small folk themselves. Augarde's fairies are a far cry from Shakespeare's; you won't find them enchanting mortals or cursing anyone with the head of an ass. They are small in stature and few in number, and what little magic they have is mostly religated to superstition. They eek out a meager existance in one small woods, equally fearing starvation and human discovery.

Which is not to say th
I picked this book because it sounded like a fun read, but I was a little disappointed in it. I found the writing to be a bit clunky and obvious, especially in the beginning. Although I found the way the main character reacted to the little people to be fairly realistic, I didn't like how she reacted to adults around her. It just sounded like it was a child written from an adult's point of view.

*spoiler alert*
Furthermore, I didn't find the little people all that interesting. The first character
Becky Mears
I do like a well written childrens book and I do love a bit of magical fantasy. This was both and I loved it. Came across it on a bargain bookshelf and thought I'd read it and give it to my niece. Really glad I did. Loved it so much I'm going to buy the sequel and have lent it to my neighbour before I send it to my niece.....happy find!
I have had a strange craving for fairy tales lately, which I had to go to kid fiction to satiate properly. There is a lot here that is good. I love Midge and the parts about her are consistently the most interesting. The bits about the fairies are less so, and the different tribes are like a throw-back to the different regions of Oz or something. My only real complaint, though, is that Midge doesn't get to DO anything. After rescuing the horse, she is pretty much running for her life at arrow po ...more
When Midge declared herself the Mistress, I was well and truly hooked. I dearly love her thinking things through at the Summer Palace.


Suffers from the common "characters are male unless they need to be female for plot purposes" problem, but a great story nonetheless. I look forward to the further adventures.

(Seriously, you create five new species, and you automatically default to patriarchal society? Why bother? Yeah, there's a queen, but she's old, confused, and powerless, and it's the male
I really enjoyed this novel -- it has sort of an old-fashioned YA fantasy novel feel. I did feel that it suffered from some pacing and plot problems; for how long the book is (over 400 pages) very little was wrapped up in the end, and the story seemed to move in fits and starts throughout. Still, the author does a great job of giving the Various different personalities and creating their culture, and he also has a good sense for how young adolescents think and interact. I particularly enjoyed Ge ...more
Paul Kerr
Aside from the glorious artwork and cover design of these books, and the hype that precedes this trilogy, the plot itself - discovery of little folks and a whole new world hidden in plain site etc - may seem a rehash of many a bad Hollywood children's movie. But the pacing, characters and genuine danger that the human protagonists find themselves in raises this book above others in the genre. This is not a glorified rendition of an imaginary fairyland waiting to be discovered - this is a rough a ...more
This book is about a girl, Midge, who spends her summer in her uncle's house. Her mom is part of a band, which is touring for a couple of months. She doesn't really know her uncle well, so this gave a chance for both of them to bond. Midge later on found out that she was born in the room she is staying in, at her uncle's house. She also discovered a mystical animal hiding in the old pig farm in their backyard. Although, Midge doesn't know that this can bring trouble to her uncle and her.

I didn'
Samantha-Ellen Bound
The Various was written in the mid 2000’s, but the style, pacing, and themes feel like they belong to the 50s/60s era of children’s writing. This is not necessarily bad, as pretty much all my fav books come from this era. But The Various is perhaps lacking the charm and whimsy of the writing at this time – it feels a bit plain old-fashioned, but not in a hip modern way. I think kids, attuned to a snappy, action-filled and contemporary narrative, would struggle to get through it. It certainly too ...more
The Various is a strangely old-school fantasy novel: it deals, like many such stories, with a very isolated space where fantastical creatures can still thrive. The creatures, the Various, are threatened with the extinction of their environment as the imposition of man move toward their space. This environmental aspect of the destruction of forest is played down in favor of romance, family disputes, and the gradual progression towards a perfectly traditional happy ending. If you can get past the ...more
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I began writing children's books when I was at art college, which means that I’ve spent over thirty years as a children's author. Must be nearly time to grow up. About eighty titles published to date, I think. These include story books and pop-ups for younger readers, as well as my more recent novels for older children. I'm also an illustrator and paper-engineer, and you can see examples of this t ...more
More about Steve Augarde...

Other Books in the Series

Touchstone Trilogy (3 books)
  • Celandine (Touchstone Trilogy, #2)
  • Winter Wood (Touchstone Trilogy, #3)
Celandine (Touchstone Trilogy, #2) X Isle Winter Wood (Touchstone Trilogy, #3) Leonardo Da Vinci When I Grow Up

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“Many eyes are watching you, and many hearts are wary of your presence” 6 likes
“And it is a fact an absolute fact that there are creatures on the surface of this earth that have never been studied by man . . . There are other worls - worlds within this world - that we can only begin to imagine. We may think we have seen all that there is to be seen on this tiny planet of ours. We most certainly have not - and perhaps never shall.” 5 likes
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