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Friday, November 23, 2012

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Peculiars by Maureen McQuerry

Title: The Peculiars
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publishing House: Amulet Books
ISBN: 1419701789
Source of Copy: Purchased from National Bookstore

Summary: On her eighteenth birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to leave her mother and grandmother, and their comfortable home in the City, to search for her father,who disappeared into the northern wilderness known as Scree when she was a child. Scree is an untamed part of the country that is said to be inhabited by Peculiars-people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society-as well as by folks who are "strange", have "unusual talents," or are outlaws. The local authorities and even the family doctor all believe Lena's father to have personality "flaws," which causes Lena to wonder if she is like him. Is he a Peculiar? Is she a Peculiar?

On the train north, Lena meets Jimson Quiggley, a young librarian who's traveling to Knoster, a town on the edge of Scree, to work in the private library of the inventor Tobias Beasley. En route, they cross paths with the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When the marshal follows Lena to Knoster, she is unsure of his true motivations. In town,she l,earns more about the unusual Mr. Beasley; his mysterious home, called Zephyr House; and the strange folk who go there but never come out again.

But Lena still longs to go to Scree and find her father, even if that means confronting her deepest fears. This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk and fantasy.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book) 


There’s a saying that goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” My life pre-GoodReads often entailed that as long as the summary sounded awesome and the cover looked gorgeous, the book/s would end up coming home with me. As a result, the book/s, I eventually will find out, would either be a diamond (my first John Green book was The Abundance of Katherines when I was still in high school, which spurred my obsession with his books after the said book was finished), or a rhinestone (until this very day, I cannot get over Lauren Kate’s Fallen—now that would teach me to reach for books with pretty covers). I really thought that I had kicked the habit to the curb now that I have access to GoodReads, but this book still had me reaching for it when I was browsing my local bookstore. Before I knew it, receipts were signed and the book was already in my possession. On the ride home, I felt quite bad. What if it was a book I ended up hating? And I bought a hardcover too. Upon getting home, I immediately looked for its ratings on GoodReads, and I was horrified. Would this be Fallen Part Two? Over the next few days, I was quite sure I wanted to have it exchanged, but a little part of me was curious about the book as well. I was pretty sure I had to judge it for myself.

I am so glad that I didn't return it.

You have to remember I was approaching the book with bias, but I had to convince myself that I was doing the book a terrible unjustice. When I was about seventy pages in, I was still quite wary. I was waiting for The Part Where It All Goes Horribly Wrong. 

It doesn't come.

Lena was a tad annoying—an unforgettable heroine, indeed—but I had to remind myself that it is precisely because she is impulsive that there is a story at all. Although she was oftentimes impulsive, Lena is a character that readers can relate to, whether it’s her self-consciousness with regards to her long feet and spider-like hands, her insatiable need to reconnect with an absent father, or her insatiable quest for freedom. Even at eighteen, Lena was first introduced as a sheltered young snob because of her lack of contact with the outside world, but readers will connect with Lena as she tries to make sense of possible romances, and her eventual growth into a truly adventurous and accepting spirit. 

The pacing was good, and most of the characters were in their element. Mr. Beasley in the latter part of the book, however, has lost his credibility as a real, functioning character.   Sometimes, his character sounds a bit too mechanical. There were some parts in the book that I also found questionable, although I have filed it away as Mr. Beasley being too much of an easygoing eccentric.

All in all, however, this was a good read and thoroughly enjoying. Until then, I shall remain envious, Lena Mattacascar, of both your personal growth and of your possession of Jimson Quiggley's heart.


  1. Love love the cover and glad that you liked the story too. I haven't read it yet, but I like the summary and your review. :D


  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! This one was so-so for me but I did enjoy it overall. It was certainly a unique little story.
    Great review

    1. Thank you for stopping by. :) It really was unique, as I am quite tired of the girl-meets-guy-who-tells-her-she-is-not-all-what-she-thinks-she-is-and-falls-for-him thing.