Thursday, April 05, 2012

Early Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry / Reading Romances April Challenge

Alternate Realities Month!

2) Read a book set in the future or a historical with an alternative reality (i.e. steampunk).


The Peculiars
Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Expected publication date: May 1, 2012

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.

Amulet Books


My Review

Eighteen-year-old Lena Mattacascar is a goblin. Or so she (and everybody else) suspects so. She was born with elongated hands and feet, soft fleshy soles and precocious intelligence. Ever since she can remember, her grandmother, Nana Crane, has been monitoring her for her wild thoughts, keen interest in money and too much of a temper. Like her father had. And Lena has been watching herself. She wants to know more about Saul Mattacascar, who left home when she was only five. A man best known for his constant visits to jail due to violence and money scams.

On the day of her eighteenth birthday, her mother gives her an envelope addressed to her by her father. It contains a small inheritance and a short letter. Despite her family's disapproval, Lena knows exactly what to do with the money. She's going to Scree, to find out more about her father, about herself and the other Peculiars.

Lena, with special shoes and gloves made to try and make her differences less noticeable, then embarks the train to Knob Knoster, where she intends to hire a guide to Scree. Also riding the train is cheerful Jimson Quiggley, a librarian in training, that doesn't seem the least horrified by her very long hands. Right before dinner, though, two criminals invade the train and release a prisoner. A goblin prisoner who was to be sent to Scree. After all the excitement, Lena finds that her purse containing most of her money, maps and notes is suddenly missing. Nobody can seem to find it. But Marshal Thomas Saltre, the one investigating the crime scene, seems to know an awful lot about her father. And her.

When she gets to Knob Knoster, she quickly needs comes up with a plan to best use the smaller amount of money she hid inside her chemise. She is accosted again by the Marshal, who overhears her asking around about a guide to Scree. He wants her to go ask a certain Mr. Beasley, and while there, do a little of spying for him. Apparently Mr. Beasley is doing something illegal, but the police aren't sure exactly what, yet. Only that Peculiars and nuns are involved. Lena hits the jackpot when she meets Mr. Quiggley again. He's Mr. Beasley's new librarian at Zephyr House, and, before she knows it, she's hired by the old man to help him out (what with her mother being a librarian and all).

Lena starts to get very fond of Mr. Quiggley... until she discovers he's already engaged. To makes things even more confusing to her, the Marshal seems to be taking a fancy to her. Or is he just trying to use her? All we really want to know is: What kind of futuristic experiments is Mr. Tobias Beasley doing? And what is he experimenting on the Peculiars? What is the deal with Mrs. Mumbles, the weird cat from Zephyr House? When is Lena finally going to Scree to meet her father?

I have to say that I wasn't sure how I would feel about his book, because I'm not really a big fan of steampunk, but The Peculiars is more fantasy than steampunk. The futuristic details in this late 1800s setting were not so exaggerated, which made it easier for me to enjoy the story. The last part of the book dragged a bit, I'm afraid, but, weirdly enough, the ending seemed a bit rushed to me. O.o

I really wanted to have seem more romance between Lena and Jimson and maybe some more explaining on the origins of Scree and the Peculiars, but I'll take what I can get. Darwin and God discussions included. LOL.

If you like steampunk YAs with mystery, fantasy, a lot of adventure and strong heroines, this is your book.

* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

1 comment:

I would love to read what you have to say. :)