Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ARC The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry (2/5 stars).

Title: The Peculiars
Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publisher: ABRAMS Books/Amulet Books
Date to be Published: 01 May 2012 
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk
Hardcover: 354 pages
Rating: 2/5 stars

"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 Peculiars is my first time reading a steampunk novel and with the cover looking so gorgeous, I was quite excited to start reading! However, when I was almost halfway through the book, I was really frustrated with the incredibly slow pace, it's as if the story got stuck and didn't move forward until the Marshal's men were raiding the Zephyr House because its owner has been helping Peculiars which is against the law. Lena's adventure going to Scree, the land of the Peculiars, was lackluster at best with the exception of when they (inhabitants of the Zephyr House) escaped using an aerocopter.

I didn't like the heroine, Lena, I thought that she's simpleminded and uninspiring. She was so focused on the extra joints on her hands and feet and that's what propels her to do something, i.e. to make a deal with the Marshal. She wanted to go to Scree to meet her father, ask him why he left his family, and to find out if he's really a goblin and what that would mean as her doctor has told her that goblinism is passed on through genetics.

Jimson, Lena's love interest can be sweet but I wanted more from him, Lena was obviously jealous of Pansy, Jimson's fiance, but you can't tell if Jimson was interested in Lena, for me, he was more cold than hot towards her.

Lastly, I initially thought that it was Lena who was on the cover art but then when she was described as having dark hair, I started to wonder who the peculiar with the beautiful wings is. It isn't until much later that we meet Merilee. And to be truthful, I find her a better character than Lena, she's smart - like when she thought of a way to get Lena out of jail - courageous and has a big heart. She doesn't look away when people need her help even if she puts herself in harms way. 

Overall, THE PECULIARS was an okay read with deft imagery of the Zephyr House and Mr. Beasly's contraptions, a writing style that is easy to read, and an interesting premise of nature versus nurture.

My thanks to ABRAMS Books & Net Galley for providing me a copy of The Peculiars in exchange for an honest review.


  1. The story sounds boring and Lena doesn't seem likable. Thanks for the honest review, Jenny! I might pass on this one.

    1. I'm glad you liked the review Vanessa! :)

  2. Aww I thought it'd be good. And I love the cover! I'm going to be looking out for more reviews before deciding to read it or not. Thanks for the honest review!

    1. I liked the cover too! But yes, you should look out for other reviews, I'm not a fan of steampunk and therefore I'm not sure if the slow pace is normal in that genre. :)

  3. Hmmm, I really wanted to read this book, but after your review, I decided to lower his place on my list. Most of it because of you describtion from the heroin. I hate characters like that :p