Reading Level: Middle Grade
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Peculiar series
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have wanted to read this book for some time. I ended up picking it up off of the dollar table at one of my son’s book fairs at school. It ended up being a wonderful steampunk middle grade novel with magic and mystery.
This book takes place in an alternate London where fae unwillingly fell into our world. The story follows two characters; the first is Bartholomew Kettle, who lives with his mother and sister in the faery slums of Bath. Bartholomew is a Peculiar, half fae and half human. When he sees a strange woman in a rich plum dress he is determined to find out the mystery behind her. The other character is Arthur Jellyby who is on the London council. Arthur just wants to coast through life unnoticed and unbothered, however he ends up drawn into a mystery surrounding the disappearance of Peculiars that puts him in contact with Bartholomew.
I loved the lush and descriptive writing. This book is all about the moody atmospheric setting; the descriptive writing makes all of the scenes really come alive so that you feel like you are walking the streets of this strange and peculiar London.
There is some excellent world building here and I really loved the idea of a London where faery had unwillingly taken residence. It’s a very creative idea and very well done. I love that you never know what kind of fae you will see next wandering the streets of this book.
This is one of the first middle grade steampunk books I have ever read and it was well done. There are a lot of fun steampunk elements in here.
Probably my biggest issue with the story was that I had a bit of trouble engaging with the characters. I just am not all that sympathetic to the characters and their plight; they come off as a bit dry. I also thought the story ended very abruptly. I didn’t realize that this was part of a series, but even knowing that now the ending to this book just seems very unfinished…which is a shame.
Overall this was a well done middle grade steampunk novel. I enjoyed the world-building and the wonderfully descriptive writing. I did have some trouble engaging with the characters though. I would recommend to middle grade and older readers who love mysteries with some fantasy in them; especially to those who are interested in the steampunk genre. I personally am not sure if I will continue reading the series.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge