by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (May 1, 2012)
Buy the book: Amazon
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.
At a Glance:
The Peculiars was, in fact, peculiar, which I like. Though lacking in the romance department (tease!), it certainly makes up for it in the world-building and creative cast. I think this is a great book for those who love clean fantasy, alternate histories, and a touch of steampunk.
I happened upon this book on Netgalley, after seeing the original cover, and thinking it looked interesting. I like the new cover, but wish they would have stuck with Lena on the front instead of one of the supporting characters. I do like the added steampunk element to this cover, though.
The Wild West World of Fantastical Steampunkery:
This was a really interesting world. I wasn't exactly sure of the time period, but it kind of made me think of the Wild West, kind of like Wild Wild West with Will Smith, especially with the Steampunk elements. But it also had a strange twist of fantasy, with goblins, and other "Peculiars" including people with wings, which made it all the more interesting. Maureen Doyle McQuerry did a fantastic job of pulling me into this world and helping me picture it all in my mind.
The Peculiar Peculiars:
Lena was a character. I really liked her personality and her spunk. She is ambitious, and head-strong, and won't let anyone stand the way of her finding the answers she needs. I really liked reading about her, and watching her discover more about herself and about all the Peculiars. I also really liked reading about the other types of Peculiars, which I won't go into detail about as not to spoil anything, but it made me think of Melissa Marr, Holly Black, or Laini Taylor's creatures.
One thing that was kind of hard for me was that Lena had really long/large hands and feet. I don't know about you, but I am NOT a foot person. I don't want to look at feet, I don't want to touch feet, and I don't want to hear about feet, even typing it right now is giving me the shivers! And Lena's feet are talked about a lot. Every time I would think about it, I would cringe! For me, the "F" word, is feet. Am I strange??
Something I felt was sorely missing, especially since it's specifically mentioned in the summary, was romance. There was some build up, and there is a little tension, but overall, the romance just wasn't really there. I have to say, I did love Jimson Quiggley. He was like the perfect hot nerdy boy. Haha! Sometimes he would be so consumed with his work that he almost seemed absent-minded, but he was so good to Lena, never letting the prejudices of others impact the way he felt about, or treated her. I hope, if there's a book 2, that their relationship will be further explored. Lena really needs to be kissed!
Great for Younger Teens:
I really think this book would be fantastic for those that are just getting out of Middle Grade Readers, and are ready to dip into YA, without taking the full plunge! With fantasy, adventure, mystery, and very little romance or profanity, this book is sure to please the younger teen crowd.
The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell (for it's Wild West-ness), Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (for the oddities), Cinder by Merissa Meyer (for the age group)
- Profanity: Minor
- Sexual Content: Minor
- Violence: Mild
- Other Notables: Some religious questioning