Monday, June 25, 2012

ARC Book Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Series or Stand-alone: 
             Stand Alone
How I got it:
             ARC courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pages: 354
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult / Steampunk/ Fantasy
First Published: May 21st, 2012
Buy it from: Amazon
                   Barnes & Noble

FIRST LINE(S): "There's no mistaking what you father was, not when you've got feet and hands like those."

The GIST (From Goodreads):
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 Peculiars” was, like its main character, a little slow. 

Let me explain: Lena Mattacascar is an eighteen year old girl, born with extremely large feet and hands, who decides that she wants to travel to the dangerous land of Scree to find her father. Lena’s father abandoned her at a young age and was rumored to be a Goblin, a person with a volatile temperament and crazy thoughts (at least that’s all I think it means). Lena’s enormous extremities seem to indict she inherited her father’s Goblinism;  she has never fit in (her shoes hehe just kidding) and she wants to go to Scree to see if more people are like her since the land is rumored to have Goblins running amok.

So let’s recap: 1. Goal get to Scree
            2. Find out about father
            3. Find more people like her.
When the book actually gets to that point: near the end.

So what happens in between? Well there is a lot of awing over ancient books and the archiving of those books (I know how exciting) but mostly it consists of Lena making stupid decisions. I don’t know how many times I rested my Ipad in my lap so I could melodramatically shake my fists in the air screaming “Why Lena! Why???” She just kept making strange decisions without trying to gather any information first or use a logical part of her brain. People she trusts/distrusts are so wonky and mixed up that you really have to be blind to not see what’s coming. I really hate it when an author makes such an obvious foreshadowing and the character never connects the dots. So, like I said, Lena was a bit slow.

The romance in the book was not swoon-inducing at all. It was just like she falls for whoever is there and wouldn’t look at her cockeyed because of her disfigurement. She even finds the person annoying (I found him annoying) so I wondered where her feelings came from. 

Somehow a book about Goblins had almost nothing to do with strange creatures and more about archiving books. A distinction I had a hard time making in the book was what a Goblin was exactly and what difference it has to a Peculiar. Are Goblins a subcategory of Peculiars or are they two separate things? I think that’s a big part of world-building, especially in a book called THE PECULIARS, but that’s just me I guess. I did like when other characters were revealed as Peculiars; there stories were even more interesting than Lena’s.

I have to say the book picked up in the end, though, I thought the ending was a bit depressing. I really didn’t have many emotions attached to the book other than a need for some medication. Lastly, kudos to whoever designed that cover; it's absolutely beautiful and intriguing-- But don't be fooled. Almost nothing to do with the book.


"The Peculiars," to me, was slow and almost had no other interesting elements to contrast this fact (fact aka my opinion). It was enjoyable to read once but I don't think I'll pick it up again. Read it or don't, either why you're not missing out on much.---5.0