TITLE: The Peculiars
AUTHOR: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1st 2012
This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena's father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
The premise is good and it's steampunk. It can't go wrong... or can it?
I was drawn to the book mainly because of the cover, which is simply stunning!
PlotIt is the first steampunk book I was going to review, so I was quite excited. But the whole thing left me a bit cold. The plot is okay-ish. Typical learn-who-i-am and find-your-destiny type of book, but with nice twists here and there. It should have been a good book.
Well, my main complaint would be... it's. So. Excruciatingly. Slow. The descriptions (lots and lots and LOTS of them )often won over the action, and when the action finally was there, it couldn't keep my interest. The best proof is that it took me almost three weeks to finish this book. It rarely takes 3 days in my case. Uh-oh.
The book picked up the pace a bit in the later part of the book after some revelations about Lena's past and future, though.
I also didn't like info dumps about the inventions and how things worked in this world. It seemed unnatural and forced when every time something new was introduced the characters practically lept to explain how it worked. And these were quite lengthy explanations.
CharactersThe characters in this book are something that almost makes up for the slowness of the story. Lena is a very self-conscious girl, who doesn't trust others easily. Her peculiarly looking hands and feet made her wary of other people. Jimson, her companion, is almost always cheerful, enthusiastic and boyish. The reader falls in love with him instantly.
There are other characters as well, and their role isn't that minor - Mr. Beasley, Marilee, Thomas Saltre - and they're a colorful mass, each with their own motivation and character.
But the characters weren't without flaws, and I'm not talking about personalities. Since the book is titled "The Peculiars" I wish there were more information about the Peculiars! Other than two, three types of Peculiars we practically don't meet any of them, and the book is all talk about those creatures.
That made me feel quite unsatisfied.
WritingThird person POV for most of the time, with short "eavesdropping Lena" chapters in first person POV. To be honest, they threw me off a little. I don't like switching POVs like that, and it didn't lead to anything. Moreover, it only happened a few times in the beginning of the book, as if the author only needed it to explain a few things and then dropped the idea altogether.
But the main flaw here will be the really long descriptions. I like action-driven books, and this wasn't one of them.
It's one of these "it's not you, it's me" books. I think a lot of people may actually enjoy it! It's not for people who love a lot of action - rather for those, who enjoy descriptions and a very detailed world.