Andy Shuping's Reviews > The Peculiars

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
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's review
Jan 31, 12

really liked it

ARC provided by NetGalley

The description of the book really caught my eye. I mean how could you not want to read a book that has a librarian as one of its main characters? And I guess you could also be interested in the fact that there’s this group of people called “Peculiars” who have unusual wings or perhaps really long fingers and toes, like goblins. And so I eagerly dived into the story and wasn't disappointed.

On her 18th birthday Lena Mattacascar receives her father’s inheritance, a small amount of money and a deed to mine and she didn’t know was in her family. So Lena decides to go and search for her father, who vanished when she was young, in the wilderness of Scree...where the Pecuilars live. The pecuilars have characteristics like wings or really long fingers and toes, like goblins do...and like Lena does. On the train ride north she meets a young librarian named Jimson Quiggley who is going to work for the inventor Mr. Beasley. Also on the train is the mysterious marshal, Thomas Saltre, who recruits Lena to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange people that visit his home. Lena is soon torn between two different world and a daring escape into the wilds lead her to confront her past and her fears of who she really is.

Maureen has created a fascinating world, one that is easy for anyone to slip into. Who hasn’t felt like they had features that made them stand out from everyone else, such as big ear or big hands, that make them feel like they want to hide away from everyone else? Lena is a character that is easy to relate to, not because she is different, but because she is so like many of us and gives us hope that we can overcome some of the challenges that face us in this world. Even better than that she is someone that many of us could call a friend. Yes, she makes bad choices from time to time, but she learns from them and grows from them. The other characters in the story are also easily relatable to, even the so called villain of the story the young marshal Thomas Saltre, has some redeeming qualities to him.

The one issue I really have with the story is that it seems like we’re missing part of the story. For example, about half way through the book we’re introduced to this book that Mr. Beasley takes possession of from the nuns that appears to show how “the Percuilars” come from the same place as the rest of humanity, even the devout and pious missionaries. But this is only hinted at and never really fully explained or explored. It feels like a half formed idea that the author forget to come back to. Perhaps this is just the first book in a series and she’ll explain it more, and I look forward to that if she does, but for the time its a detraction.

Overall this is an enjoyable read and one that I’d recommend to any young teen growing up, whether they be male or female, because they can all find something familiar to them in the story. I also hope there are future volumes to this tale and that we find out more about the mysterious book from the nuns.
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