Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar is a gorgeous debut set in a fantastical version of the...moreMore of my reviews can be found on my blog: Literary Exploration
Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar is a gorgeous debut set in a fantastical version of the gritty streets of London. The story follows the trials and tribulations of young Bartholomew, the Changeling. In a world where fairies roam the streets in plain sight, and Changelings are depolored by humans and the fae, Bartholomew must learn to face his fears and defeat his many enemies. The Peculiar boasts a magnificent story line and likable characters that will appeal to children and adults. I loved the terrifying world that Bachmann has created and I immediately fell in love with poor Bartholomew. Fans of fantasy, twisted fairy tales, and the darker side of the fae will enjoy this one!
Bartholomew is just like most young children. He likes to play with his toys, he loves his younger sister, and he wants to see the world. The only problem is that he is allowed to be seen by anyone, ever. But Bartholomew is brave and when he's forced to leave the (somewhat) safety of his home, he does so with courage and intelligence. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Bartholomew overcome the obstacles that are thrown in his path over and over again; he really is a true hero. Even quiet Mr. Jelliby, a bumbling, idiotic adult who stays locked away in his home as much as he can manages to grow into a more appealing and courageous character. Both characters lean more about themselves and the world around them as they work together.
For being sixteen when he started The Peculiar, Bachmann puts the rest of us to shame. His writing abilities are spectacular, painting vivid images of this frightening world and bringing this entire city to life. The ideas are fresh, the world-building is realistic and horrifying, and the ease with which the plot moves along is elegant. There were some moments where things slowed down and may have moved too leisurely, but overall the story moves quickly and efficiently. I admit, I love a good bloody and graphic scene with bodies swinging from trees, and Bachmann leaves none of these scenes to the imagination. His descriptive language made me feel as if I were really there, watching lifeless corpses swinging from dead branches.
Overall, I loved Bachmann's The Peculiar. It's horrifying and fantastical and the juxtaposition between fantasy and reality with steampunk elements thrown in is perfect. I greatly appreciated that Bachmann refused to portray the fae in a positive light, giving us the true eleven creatures of old world mythology. I loved watching the two main characters grow throughout the story and learn to navigate this strange world they live in, and I can't wait to find out what Bachmann has in store for us next. There are some graphic and scary images that may not be suitable for children under nine.(less)
I feel like I walked into Darkest Minds thinking one thing, and came out of it thinkin...moreMore of my reviews can be found on my blog: Literary Exploration
I feel like I walked into Darkest Minds thinking one thing, and came out of it thinking something completely different. Even days later my mind is consumed with the horrific images depicted throughout the novel. This is my first Alexandra Bracken novel and I'm already preparing myself to order more of them. Not only is her writing hauntingly beautiful, but her use of imagery is undeniably powerful and will stay with. Even the characters become people you know and people you want to save. I only recently found out about Darkest Minds but everything about it became an amazing story I won't easily forget. Super powers, deadly diseases, corrupt governments, terrorist groups, and Southern boys are just some of the tantalizing subjects this book holds within its pages.
The characters in Darkest Minds are all amazingly well-written. They're people you fall in love with from the very beginning. Ruby's story became my story; her fears became mine; her hopes, dreams, emotions, everything about her became something I could relate to. Her loyalty to Liam, Chubs, and Suzume is admirable and heartbreakingly beautiful. I loved how committed she was to saving them all without asking anything in return. And Liam... oh my God. That boy is one of the most romantic and faithful love interests I've read about in a long time. His Southern charm and caring personality are the best combination for heroic love interest out there. Even Chubs is someone I fell in love with. He's a bit wary of Ruby in the beginning, but like everyone else he grows to love her, and she him.
The writing in Darkest Minds is absolutely breath-taking. Bracken has an elegant and poetic way of molding words into extraordinary pictures. There were many times when I felt like I was walking alongside Ruby, through an abandoned countryside that was once part of her home. The vivid imagery allowed me to immerse myself in the story, barely coming up for air. This story is amazing, filled with super powers and intricate backgrounds for everyone which eventually surface enabling the reader to learn more about each character and their motivations. I loved slowly getting to know everyone, and the way that Bracken unfolded circumstances into a cohesive plot line that had me curled in the corner by the time it was over.
I feel like my review has become a mess of jumbled words and emotions, my thoughts attempting to fill the page with expressions of how deeply this book touched me. The emotional turmoil I was causes by the end had be gasping for air and reaching for the box of Kleenex while screaming, “But WHY?!” at my dog. I can't tell you how much I needed a hug by the time it was over, and how badly I want to get my hands on whatever Bracken has in store for me next. If you haven't already considered reading Darkest Minds you'll definitely want to add this one to your TBR. Fans of dystopian worlds, super powers, and heartbreaking romance will fawn over this one. (less)
I got through about half of this one when I put it down to read something else. Overly descriptive and slow moving plot had me flipping pages rather t...moreI got through about half of this one when I put it down to read something else. Overly descriptive and slow moving plot had me flipping pages rather than enjoying the story. I really don't even remember much of what I read, it was too boring. I'd avoid this one.(less)