ARC Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

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.


The Peculiars is the story of 18 year old Lena Mattacascar who sets off to Scree to find her absent and criminal father who everybody believes in the goblin. Lena herself is told she’s a goblin with her hands and feet which feature an extra joint and this only fuels her to find out just how much she is like her father.

I found The Peculiars to be a more thought-provoking novel then I originally thought it would be. And I really liked that. There’s a number of quotes in the climax-resolution which talk about souls and Gods (as Peculiars are believed to have no soul), humanity and self-worth which I found very interesting. I really liked that because it’s weaved throughout the entire novel and you don’t realise until the end.

Lena is an interesting character. I found myself liking her and hating her at the same time as Jimson for her faults and decisions. In fact, all the characters are pretty interesting, including the eyebrowless Mr Beasley who Lena works for as a librarian assistant to Jimson. Jimson I found to be an entertaining character. He made me smile more times than Lena did as we progressed through the novel.

I did find the chapter titles to be annoying. Some were really uncreative and it felt like they were there just for show. Like “Lena spies a winged girl and makes a pack” ruined the chapter for me so I stopped reading them on purpose. Also, I found that one slightly silly.

And where The Peculiars excels in characters it lacked for me in plot. I found the plot not really slow, but slowish in a drawn-out way. I kept waiting for them to start making their way to Scree and all the trouble and adventures that would happen but the majority of the novel is spent in Mr Beasley’s house uncovering secrets about Peculiars and such.

But where The Peculiars lacks in plot it made up for historical content. This is a bit half-good and half-bad for me because the understanding of all the designs of the inventions and how they worked and the medical stuff was really interesting. And at the same time really boring. Some explanations dragged on for what felt like forever and after a while it just got annoying. I think some explanations (stitching for example) could have been cut without hassle.

Overall, I enjoyed The Peculiars. I found the characters were likeable, the research McQuerry did for this really shined through, I loved the world building, and even though the pace was a little slow it held my attention.         

Review: 4 stars
Date Published: May 01 2012
Publisher: ABRAMS
Source: Revieved for review

Format: Kindle
Date Read: April 2012
Page Count: 288
Series/Stand Alone: Stand alone (I think).


Hey, you there, yes you ;)

Thanks for commenting! This is seriously awesome and I promise to try my hardest to get back to you, so do check back if you had a question or something to discuss!

Sadly, this is an award free blog. I really, really appreciate the thought and offer but with grade twelve and other activities as well as blogging, I don't really have all the spare time in the world. But thank you so much for the thought!

Seriously, though. Check back because I love to reply to comments ;)