Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Publisher:  Amulet Books
Release Date:  May 1, 2012
ISBN:  978-1419701788
Pages:  354

I received this book in ebook format from the publisher through www.netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

I know you're all asking 'why are you teasing us with a book that doesn't even come out until May 1st?  That's
2 1/2 months away!'  Well, because, my darlings, this is a fantastic book and I want you all to put it on your wishlist or go pre-order it right now.  Go on, I'll wait for you.

Ok, all wishlisted and pre-ordered?  Good.  Here we go:

Lena is just turning 18 in this book and she has these weird elongated hands and feet with an extra knuckle on her fingers.  Her doctor and grandmother tell her she has signs of 'goblinism' and that possibly her father was a goblin.  Her grandmother always tells her how goblins can't help but be destructive.  Nice grandma, eh?  When Lena turns 18 her mother gives her something her father left for her:  a letter, a map and a bit of money.  She strikes off for the wilds of Scree to find her father and maybe the truth about herself.

Lena hops on a train to Scree and meets Jimson, a young man off to his new job as a private librarian for a wealthy man just outside of Scree.  She also meets Marshal Saltre, who convinces her that Jimson's employer is doing something illegal and asks her to spy for him. As Lena becomes more acquainted with Jimson, Mr. Beasley and his household, she is torn between doing what Marshal Saltre wants her to do and doing what is right by herself.

Ms. McQuerry is a master wordsmith.  Her use of words like 'goblinishness' and 'bandylegged' as well as phrases such as 'Margaret's words were slippery,' really made the story delightful.  The descriptions made me feel the train rock, smell the salty air and know what it's like to trudge through deep snow.  It made reading the book a complete joy.

Lena - I like her.  A lot.  At first she's entirely self-absorbed, worrying more about hiding her hands and feet than anything else.  But you catch glimpses of who she is when she acts instinctively and forgets her limbs.  Who hasn't felt awkward and like they're different?  But when you forget yourself in happiness or wonder, everyone is the same.  I really love that you see Lena grow so much through her journey.

Jimson - smart, likable, ready for action.  I love that he gets so distracted by scientific concepts and that he accepts people for who they are and doesn't want to settle for ordinary.

Mr. Beasley - an odd man.  He's wealthy, a doctor, a scientist; he just wants to help those in need.

Marshal Thomas Saltre - a bit mysterious. He comes off as two different people, depending on the circumstances.  Like Lena, I wanted to like him but was unsure of him.

If you like alternate historical fiction, steampunk or fantasy - you'll love this book!

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