Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Title: The Peculiars
Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publication date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Amulet Books
Age group: Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk
Cover rating: 4/5
Content rating: 3/5
Buy: Amazon

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.
My thoughts:
Well, the Steampunk genre seems to be the next trend in YA fiction. I find the concept of a lot of these books fascinating but I'm not sure if they're really going to be my kind of thing. I was very intrigued by The Peculiars. I loved the awesome cover and the premise sounded different and interesting. I definitely haven't read many books like this so have nothing to compare it with. But really, I didn't find this one all that impressive. It wasn't bad but was missing that extra spark for me.

It started off so well. It's not exactly a very quick read but I still flew threw the first half of it. I was so into this world and the characters. I loved all the little inventions and I couldn't wait to find out more about The Peculiars and Lena's real past. I liked Lena a lot. I could empathise with her easily and could understand why she made the decisions she did. It's only natural to want to find out your own history and where you come from. At the beginning, when she loses her bag, I was freaking out right along with her! The second half didn't quite keep up the greatness, though.

It was just too slow for me. I kept waiting and waiting for awesome things to happen but they didn't really. Things did happen but very slowly. There was so much description about every event that my interest was lost in what was actually happening. Just too much detail about how Lena was putting on her gloves and stuff like that. It just disrupted the flow! The end was too anti-climatic for my liking as I felt it had been building up to something more.

All in all, The Peculiars was okay. I genuinely loved many parts of it and Jimson was by far my favourite character in the book. But as a whole, I didn't love it and felt it could have been so much better. I'd still recommend it to anyone interested in checking out the genre.


  1. I'm not a big fan of the steampunk genre myself Nicola. Great review though, I don't think this would be for me.

  2. I haven't really gotten into steampunk yet - but then again I have yet to read much of it either. I actually find this one to be pretty interesting and think it would be worth trying out. I have to give it an honest effort before giving up entirely on a genre! :D

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog - I'm now following you. You have a tonne of reviews on your front page that I want to check out!

    Bonnie @

  3. I am diappointed that this one isn't getting better reviews, I have it coming up on my reading schedule,and I am going into it with a wary eye now. Thanks for the honest heads up :)

  4. It's a shame this book ended up losing some steam towards the second half, but it's good to hear you still liked parts of it. I would love to read more steampunk books, but it's difficult to really appreciate them if they aren't anything spectacular. Great review! :)

  5. I have an ARC of this, but maybe I will give it away. I can't stand books that are slow. Thanks for the review!

  6. I've been seeing this book all over the place! I'm actually a fan of steampunk when it's well done. I don't like all steampunk but I think that could be more to do with the sub-genre than the actual steampunk aspect. This sounds weird but it could well be my kinda thing. Fingers crossed! =)


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