Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.
In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings - Peculiars - and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.
One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley - Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.
First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish...and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.
Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.
©2012 Stefan Bachmann (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
The language and the way the story is woven - it's part magic faraway tree, part iron giant, part jane eyre. That may seem an odd combination, but it works. The story envelops you in an olde worlde Britain, and leaves you feeling as though the grit of the streets and the smoke from the mechanical horses is ground into your bones.
Peter Altschuler's voice is perfect for narrating this old fashioned fairy tale. Perfectly enunciated English with a marvellous talent for instilling drama and magic and mystery and...fear.
However, his voices for the characters - notably Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby - are at odds with their descriptions. Barthy sounds much too young, and Arthur Jelliby sounds much too old, and the clash between the writing and the voice was a little irritating at times.
That said, the voices of the other characters suit them wonderfully, and really bring the story to life!
The book is quite smoothly paced, moving on from one crisis to the next without too much chance to stop and worry about how it will all work out, but the ending isn't your typical happily-ever-after, it's simply making the best of a horrific situation, and that makes the whole story much more important.
I enjoyed this story immensely, mostly for the rich imagery and wonderfully crafted characters. I recommend it for fans of darker magic, faeries, and steampunk.
"An Unexpected Adventure"
I love the narrator for this story and how well he captures the voices of each one and makes them so unique and believable. His tempo as well added the perfect touch of drama where needed. The story alone is fascinating but this narrator nailed the characters and made it sooo much more worth wild.
I love Arthur Jelibee (sorry about the spelling). I get this guy; he doesn't want any trouble for anyone, mostly himself but, he is willing to push past that to do what is right. I love how he does not treat Barthy any differently. I hope for a sequel soon, this story left with a cliff hanger and I need more of these characters.
I have never listened to this narrator before but I will especially be searching for him in the near future. He is amazing!
I laughed, but no tears. I felt suspense when needed, it kept me on the edge of my seat at times. Absolutely worth diving into and not putting down!
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