Book Review: The Peculiar

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Bartholomew is a peculiar. As peculiars, he and his sister Hattie are shunned by both faeries and humans. The only way they can survive in a world that would rather see them dead is by avoiding notice. “Don’t get yourself noticed, and you won’t get yourself hanged.” They live in a small, old apartment in the slums of Bath in the faery distract. Their mom takes as good care of them as she can, but there’s only so much she can do. Life in such poverty is dull and hard, but at least they’ve managed to survive. Their biggest problems begin when peculiars start showing up dead. Covered in mysterious red writing, their bodies begin washing up in London completely flat and empty like old leather sacks. When Bartholomew sees a strange lady in purple take away a peculiar that lives across the street from him, he can’t help but be curious. That’s when he makes his greatest mistake. He gets noticed. Then, he is plummeted him down a path that will change his life forever.

Bachmann creates a wonderful world that reveals an entirely new perspective on fairies and other magical creatures. He does an incredible job of building the characters and paints a very realistic picture of their personalities. This book is even more impressive when you realize how young the author is. A fun read with mystery, fantasy, and steampunk all rolled into one.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: Beyond the Deep Woods

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Twig feels out of place with his wood troll family. Even though he looks quite different from the other wood trolls and has never felt like he fits in, he didn’t realize he’d been adopted until the day his mother told him he had to leave them, so he wouldn’t be captured by the sky pirates. He heads off into the deep woods on his way to his cousin’s house, but before he gets there, he does the unthinkable. Despite his mother’s constant warnings, Twig strays from the path. That’s when his adventure begins. Twig rescues and is rescued. He’s welcomed, ignored, threatened, eaten, almost killed, and, at one point, he even becomes a girl’s treasured pet until she goes through her right of passage and tries to kill him.

Beyond the Deep Woods is a thrilling tale that will constantly keep you on your toes. Twig goes from one exciting situation to the next. Stewart and Riddell present us with an action-packed story full of marvelous creatures and daring escapes. The imagination and creativity that has gone into this story is wonderful. They paint a vivid picture of an extraordinary world full of all kinds of trouble.

The only thing I would say that could be improved in this story is that there wasn’t a great sense of continuity. The characters Twig encounters in the story stay with him for a few chapters, but then he moves on, and we don’t see them again. Each section of the story could be read independently without much difficulty. However, if you are reading it as a bedtime story, it would have great places to stop each night.

There was one other issue I had with it. In one place one of the characters uses a word that I found inappropriate for a children’s book.

Overall, I found this to be an exciting and creative read. 4 Stars

Get your copy here.

Book Review: The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality # 1)

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Tick is an ordinary boy, and even though he has some insecurities and has to deal with bullies, he has the support of a good family. His life changes dramatically one day when he receives a mysterious letter in the mail. The letter contains a plea for help, a warning of danger if he accepts, and a way to escape danger if he chooses not to get involved, simply burn the letter. From this point on, Tick encounters many perils, but he steadfastly refuses to give up. More letters follow, each one containing a puzzle or riddle that must be solved before he is deemed worthy to join the real fight.

Dashner does an excellent job of depicting a typical, modern household, complete with annoying little sister, and integrating very strange and unusual characters and almost magical technology. The otherworldly heroes and villains are not your stereotypical good guys and bad guys either. Dashner reveals his incredible creativity in this book. He also breaks the mold in many ways. For example, instead of being an orphan or having horrible parents that he escapes, Tick has a wonderful, supportive mother and father, and one of the decisions he has to make is whether or not to tell his parents what’s going on.

Dashner also includes many puzzles and riddles that the readers can solve on their own. This really makes you feel like part of the story. It can also make you feel very smart if you end up solving the riddle before the hero.

I thought this was an excellent book, and I’m glad to see that it’s only the first in a series. I look forward to reading the others.

5 stars