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.
Peculiars are people with uncommon characteristics—wings, for example. These people are deemed soulless by society and most are rounded up and sent to Scree, where they either live in the dangerous free lands, or work in the mines in terrible, life-threatening conditions.
Our main character, Lena, believes she may be a Peculiar, or at least half Peculiar. Her father left her living in the City with her mother and grandmother when she was young. Lena doesn’t know a lot about him, but her grandmother often refers to him as a “goblin.” Lena then battles with whether or not to take this literally, as it is also commonly used to describe someone who’s a bad person and a troublemaker, and she begins to wonder if she is in fact an actual goblin herself on account of her unusual appearance.
Leaving the City behind, she heads for a small town called Knob Knoster, where she intends to gather supplies and find a guide to Scree. Unfortunately, her purse is stolen, meaning she has to stay in Knob Knoster a lot longer than planned. On her journey she meets Jimson, who is working as a librarian at Zephyr House for Mr Beasley, and Marshal Thomas Saltre, who believes Mr Beasley is breaking the law and lures Lena into helping him. She gets herself into one big tangled mess, and chaos and adventure follows.
The setting is wonderfully imaginative, and there’s a great mix of kooky characters I enjoyed getting to know. Lena’s journey is meaningful and her relationships with others along the way is explored well. I never quite knew who to trust, and I liked that the story kept me wondering right to the very end.
I'm really at a loss when thinking from where I could start talking about this book! The Peculiars is so wonderful that made me think of the days when I was reading Harry Potter!
The main character of this book is Lena Mattacascar, a young lady who is particular in one way or another: her feet and hands are longer than they should be.
Since her father left her at a young age, Lena has lived with Nana Crane and her mother. She has always been really careful with her long fragile hands reason for which she weared gloves, especially when she hid them from curious eyes. Always hearing that her father was a Peculiar and that he did not behave in a normal way, Lena decided to find the truth about him and... herself. She left to Scree(the place where Peculiars live) so she can find out her true origins. On her journey she met Jimson Quiggley, a young man with curly black hair, who was traveling to Knoster to work as Mr. Beasley's librarian. While riding the train, an incident occured and Lena lost her bag with almost all the things she needed for the trip. Thomas Saltre, a handsome marshal, interogated Lena about the incindent and became really interested in her journey. Falling into his tricky words and gestures Lena will make a big mistake later, compromising Mr. Beasley, an inventor, and also betraying Jimson who is the closest person to her. Her journey to Scree is tumultous and really eventful, filled with both pain and happiness, love and hate. Her decisions are always hard to make but not right at most times. But these will make her fly in an Aerocopter, meet the loveable Mrs. Mumbles (a really lovely Scree cat), fall in love with Jimson and find the truth about Saul Mattacascar, her father.
Is her long hands ad feet a sign of goblinism? You will find out just by reading the book!
There is so much to say about this book but i wouldn't want to spoil all the action! I really loved Maureen's writing style and her brilliant ideas. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a really captivating adventure!
During the trip, the train was held captive by criminals. After the event, Marshal Thomas Saltre interview people in the train, and knows that Lena is the daughter of Saul Mattacascar, a man preceded by his bad reputation with the law. The Marshal managed to convince Lena to inform him the activities in the home of Mr. Beasly, as well as the people who live and visit the place.
Lena’s journey took her to be part of the life in the Zephyr House, but her adventure will not end there. Lena will undertake a new adventure in her journey towards Scree, where her father disappeared when Lena was a girl. This place is inhabited by the so-called Peculiars. Accompanied by her new allies and traveling in a fantastic invention, Lena will make new friendships, understand her fears and know herself.
About the Book:
This book has a beautiful cover, which shows a woman with wings. In the background, we can observe a mechanic aerial contraption. This woman... she could fly, probably she wants to, but her wings look damage/broken and at the back of the photo we see those who cannot fly and are doing anything to achieve it. This image caught my interest immediately. The complete cover can be seen at the book's author page, Maureen Doyle McQuerry.
Are observed several ideas of relevance:
*Being different is seen in a negative way, people are discriminated against
The novel presents a group (the Peculiars) discriminated for being different. These people are identified and are described as soulless, because they exhibit distinctive physical features such as wings. These creatures are enslaved and sent to live in Scree and are excluded from the rest of society.
Also, it is discussed the issue of alternative energy with the inclusion of technology that uses steam. Certainly, I expected it for been a steampunk novel, to give greater importance to this concept.
In general, I recommend reading this book to lovers of steampunk and adventures. This is the first novel of this genre that I read, and probably I will include some others in my reading in the future. My favorite is Jimson. He is logical, good friend and loyal. He is a smart guy and proofs to be important for the development of the story. Also, he is a nice guy.
Although interesting and entertaining, the story didn't grabbed my complete attention. I consider that the steampunk element didn't shine enough on this book. The story offered an open ending. I wish the ending would have been more fulfilling for Lena as a character. I wanted to know the characters better. To me Mr. Beasley was a interesting character, I wish he would have been more active and more developed, so I could understand his motivations more.
If the author decides to continue Lena's journey, I definitively would look for that second book.
Copy provided via Netgalley for honest review
Leaving everything she's ever known to set out on a journey to the wild land of Scree, Lena at first captivated me with her bravery. Aware that her rather large hands and feet would capture unwanted attention, she nevertheless set out to find out her true origins and to determine, once and for all, whether she in fact was part goblin. Though distrustful of most people, having heard their whispers behind her back her whole life, she's managed to remain both curious about the world outside of her city and fiercely independent. At first, she fooled me in to thinking she also had a good head on her shoulders. But as the plot progressed, and she enters into a deal with a Court Marshall, I couldn't help but question her judgment. Her initial immediate distrust of strangers is conspicuously missing in her dealings with the Court Marshall, and with the subtlest of suggestions, he has her wrapped around his finger, blushing like a little school girl. Her trust in his motivations leads her to make some ill-advised decisions, with devastating results.
Usually, this would be where I would commend her character growth, but unfortunately for Lena, there was none. Her actions seemingly have no consequences, with most events actually helping to further her personal aims. Her moments of revelations are stinted when shortly afterwards, she regresses to her former beliefs. Even once her journey is complete, and all struggles have been overcome, she has not undertaken any sort of grand epiphany - and her final few actions serve to reinforce my belief that she is quite shallow and self-centred. A flawed character when we first meet her, she remains just as flawed when we leave her, which is a pity as she had a wonderful opportunity to show some true character growth.
I LOVED Mrs. Mumbles, the cat. Easily my favourite character, as McQuerry did a fabulous job of instilling a decidedly feline personality, with a little touch of humanness to her actions. (It definitely helps that she was named because her purr sounds like someone trying to speak, which is exactly why my cat is named Mumble!)
I truly enjoyed Jimson, as his enthusiasm for life and knowledge was contagious. His ability to completely lose himself in a book, studying some scientific concept or method, and his curiosity about everything, was truly endearing. I was quite pleased when he was able to prove his worth as a librarian, and discredit Lena's initial scorn of his abilities. His eternal optimism, combined with his ability to see only the best in other people, made him an easy character to like. I also loved Mr. Beasley, who shared a similar zest for all things scientific. It was easy to picture him and Jimson like two kids in a candy shop, eyes aglow, anytime they were together discussing his latest invention. I do wish his painted eyebrows had been given some sort of explanation, as they were referenced often, and I was hoping they would end up alluding to his own peculiarity.
I felt like the amount of Peculiars was sub-par, considering the amount of hype that surrounded Scree and the various types of peoples inhabiting it's lands. I was extremely disappointed to learn about only two types of Peculiars, those with wings and those with some form of goblinism, and felt like it was an area that could have been much better exploited. I also felt like the existence of Peculiars was not well-explained - with all the references to Darwinism, I'm assuming they were meant as the result of mutations which then led to dominant traits that survived natural selection, but as it was always mentioned in passing, this is an explanation I have derived on my own. I also felt let-down by the anticipation-building scenarios that Merilee hinted at, speaking about native Scree-ians who were unwilling to be out after dark, only to have one largely uneventful interaction between Lena and the creatures Merilee was referring to. The animals that inhabited Scree were mentioned several times in fact, all expressing traits not found elsewhere, but with no explanation. I wanted answers as to why Scree was so special, and was underwhelmed by flaky and vague explanations.
Lack of character growth, and subpar world-building aside, I did enjoy reading The Peculiars. The pacing moved along nicely, creating just enough suspense and action to keep me reading, but not enough to keep me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I cared enough about the characters to see them reach the end of their journeys, but to be honest, the only one I was ever truly worried about was Mrs. Mumbles. The ending ties everything up a little too nicely, but all major plot points are resolved (yey!).