Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Peculiars

The Peculiars is the story of Lena Mattacascar, a teenager who doesn't understand why her hands and feet are so gangly and long and why she isn't like other girls and especially why her grandmother calls her a goblin. Lena's father, who she has not seen since she was a little girl, has disappeared to the far north in a wilderness called Scree. There it is said that Peculiars live, people unacceptable to modern society as well as those who are "strange" Or have "unnatural talents." On her eighteenth birthday Lena decides to go to Scree and search for her gather. on the train journey there she meets a young librarian named Jimson Quiggley who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the private home and library of a Mr Beasely. En route, the train is stopped by wanted men who are being chased by the handsome young marshal!, Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lean's gather is he is most interested and follows her to the northern city where the two spy on Quiggly and Mr. Beasly. Thus begins a love triangle between Lena, Quiggly and Saltre as well as the strange tale of Mr. Beesly, his home called Zephyr House and the strange folks who go there but who never come out again. 
 
Having never read a steampunk novel before I really didn't know what to expect going into this book, I didn't know whether I would like reading about it or if I would want to put the book down. I can safely say that I enjoyed the book, however I still feel that there are a few light problems I have with the book. The problems I have with the book don't directly stem from the story, or the setting but lie with the characters, or more specifically main character Lena. 

The biggest problem I had with Lena was that she wasn't likeable, at the beginning of the book in the opening few characters I really liked her and then as soon as she got off the train she became a totally new character. I felt that everything I had learnt about the character had been false. The way she was with Jimson was totally unacceptable in some scenes, I really felt for him. Lena had a way of blaming everyone around her for the mistakes she had made, or in the instance of Jimson she was upset with him for one looking through a book and two for having a fiancee. This is a character she had only met days before. I don't know, she did do some redeeming acts towards the end of the book but it still felt a little forced.

The story was enjoyable, the main plot is that Lena wants to find her father who ran away when she was young she hopes to find him in the Scree which is where convicts or 'Peculiars' are taken. I for one enjoyed finding out about the Scree, though we don't find out to much we do learn enough to be afraid to enter it, or if you must enter you need to go with a guide. Lena thinks she may be a Goblin, or atleast half Goblin, and she wants to find out whether she is, this is the purpose of Lena going to Scree, however things don't go to plan as she is involved in a robbery and meets a marshal named Thomas. Thomas is also looking for her father, he soon has her spying on her new boss Mr Beasly, who is the local doctor/guide to the Scree. Thomas says he will help her find a guide that can take her into the Scree. While on the train Lena also met Jimson, who will be working for Mr Beasly.

I enjoyed finding out about the different characters and their backstories, as you do seem to find out more about each character as the story progresses. I enjoyed the way that although some of the characters annoyed me they still were able to grow into semi-likable characters. I also enjoyed the setting and the descriptions that are used through out the book.

I really do hope there is a sequel, I for one would love to go back to the Scree and find out what happens next. While the book didn't leave us on a cliffhanger it did leave me wanting more. I want to see what Lena will do next, I want to see what will happen to Mr Beasly and Jimson. I also want to see if Thomas just gives up. I really do recommend this book, however I do believe it is more middle grade than fill up YA.

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