Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publication: May 1st, 2012
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Description: 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 moment that I saw The Peculiars' beautiful cover, I knew I would have to read it regardless of my general aversion to steam punk and a few reviews I saw that were far from raving. Well, guess what, the cover has virtually nothing to do with the book. That lovely character with the wings? Pretty sure that's the daughter of the maid of the man that the main character ends up working for.
Just.. what? So right off the bat The Peculiars lost my trust. It never redeemed itself.
I'll be honest, I didn't finish this book. I tried, I really really did. Normally it takes me an average of three days to read a book, but I've been reading this one for two weeks and I had to throw in the towel at 75%. Why, you ask? Three simple reasons.
Why I Had to Stop Reading
1. The Main Character. Lena Mattacascar: TSTL (Too Stupid To Live, if you haven't heard the term before). Please, for the sake of all that's holy, think before you act. And if you do decide to act, please do somthing worthwhile. Thanks. That message should be sent priority to many YA heroines, but Lena was just...
The only thing that I did like about Lena was her Peculiarism. She is supposedly part goblin, which resulted in her freakishly long fingers and feet. She even describes her hands as spider-like. Not totally sure why, but I found that very cool.
2. All of the other characters too. The characters completely failed at making me care about a single one of them. Like many YA, The Peculiars has two different love interests. These characters are supposed to make us drool, sigh, and feel bad about our own love lives. Again, The Peculiars fails. Jimson Quiggley is quirky, annoying, talks too much, and oh yeah, he's already engaged. The other, the marshal Thomas Saltre, hates Peculiars with a passion (which Lena is) and has a freaking handlebar mustache. Not attractive.
The one and only character that I genuinely liked in The Peculiars was the cat, Mrs. Mumbles.
3. It was soo slowww. You know how in the description it says that they must escape to Scree in an aerocopter and Lena will confront her deepest fears? Well, they didn't even begin their escape until about 60% through the book. SIXTY percent folks. Everything leading up to that was extremelly drawn out and dry. And even after that, while some things did start to happen, it still couldn't grab my interest.
It should also be mentioned that, on the few occasions that something interesting was going to happen, the excitement and suprise of the event was sapped from the story becuase of the chapter titles. In The Peculiars, the chapter titles act as that one annoying friend that tells you the ending of the book before you've read it. Example: "Bounty Hunters". Hmm... I wonder who they might encounter in this chapter? *Gasp* Lena runs into bounty hunters?! Who'd have guessed it..
Definitely played a part in making me lose all interest in this book.
So, in a nutshell, this book is excruciatingly slow, full of characters I don't like whatsoever, and ended up being a DNF for me at 75%. With that being said, I think someone could like this book. Someone who enjoys steampunk more than I and finds the everyday goings of cleaning a library interesting (since that's a majority of what happens in the first portion of the book).
Thank you NetGallery for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.