What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Peculiar, by first-time author Stefan Bachmann -- a teen -- conjures up a scary, compelling alternate world in which kids with the wrong genes (known as changelings) are frequently murdered, and adults use magic, treachery, and physical violence to get their way. The weird imagery and violence may be too intense for some young readers: There's a bloody battle between humans and faeries (folkloric beings sometimes spelled "fairies"); faeries and humans regularly kill changeling children, some who are found with their entrails mysteriously missing; and some other people die. But the characters are memorable, the vision is imaginative, and there are strong messages of friendship, family, loyalty, and protecting your loved ones even when it means risking your life.
What's the story?
In a vaguely Victorian/steampunk alternate world where the Industrial Revolution is infused with magic and science fiction, the faeries (trapped in the human world by a cosmic mishap) and humans coexist with great suspicion, and the children of human-faery unions, called changelings or THE PECULIAR, get the worst of it. Changeling Bartholomew Kettle spends most of his time keeping himself and his sister Hettie (who has tree branches for hair) out of sight, but when he looks from his attic room to see a mysterious lady talking to the Peculiar boy across the street and spiriting him away in a puff of feathers, he has a bad feeling and suspects he or Hettie might be next. Magical powers, strange machinery, and universe-altering plots come into play in the adventures that follow, along with unlikely friendships and insights into those who aren't what they seem.
Is it any good?
Still in his teens as The Peculiar hits shelves, author Bachmann creates a compelling world, appealing characters, lurking humor, and a convoluted plot with a steady stream of revelations. Some readers may bog down in the descriptions and world-building, while others will revel in the detail. The book closes with a dramatic cliffhanger, but there's a sequel in the works.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it would be like to live your daily life with people of a different species. Could it turn out better than this, or worse? How?
Why do you think fantasy stories about faeries are so popular?
Why are some characters better at seeing through deceptive magic than others? Can you think of a situation in real life where someone was able to deceive some people but not everybody?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Publication date:||September 18, 2012|
|Number of pages:||384|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||9 - 17|
|Available on:||Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|