Review: The Peculiars

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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.

*Warning: there will be spoilers in this review, but most are minor. I will mark the major spoilers in spoiler tags*

Hmm… So this is what steampunk is…. It doesn’t seem any different than any other genres, other than the fact that it’s set in the late 1800’s (which I found out a little too late in the book, I believe at around 40%), and it’s time period is at the dawn of inventions, such as the “aerocopter”. It’s upsetting that this book has gotten such a low rating of two stars from me, because it sounded really promising, and to be honest, it started off pretty promising, but after the first 10% or so it all went downhill.

If you’re like me, and your main interest in reading this book was because of the little snippet on Goodreads saying,

”A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to fend off the many life-threatening dangers in the wilderness, and confront her deepest fears.”

then, and I hate to break it to you, you will probably be disappointed like I was, because they never experienced true danger when “in the wilderness”… Hell, they were barely in the wilderness at all! This book is extremely slow moving after the train scene, and I was bored to tears by the asinine descriptions of what Lena and Jimson were doing around the house, and Lena’s thoughts, too. It was actually up until the 40% mark when things actually started getting interesting, and when we found out that Mrs. Pollet was a Peculiar and that Mr. Beasley was treating Peculiars at his house. But sadly, the book was not able to sustain my interest much long after that, and I was back to skimming pages.

Lena genuinely got on my nerves at times, like when she found out Jimson was engaged and went absolutely crazy, and then when she told Jimson that she was going behind him and Mr. Beasley’s back and reporting everything Mr. Beasley was doing to Marshal Saltre, she somehow managed to turn the situation around and got mad at Jimson, saying that she at least did something while Jimson sat around doing nothing. Then, at the mere concept of Jimson receiving a letter, Lena felt cross because she figured it was probably from Pansy (Jimson’s fiancée). They haven’t even known each other for too long, and she’s already becoming jealous that Jimson’s fiancée is sending him letters…. Grow up and act your age (which, might I add, is 18).

Also, something as minor as chapter names annoyed me (but made me laugh) because they gave away everything that happened in the whole chapter! For example, here are a couple of chapter names:

1. Lena Spies a Winged Girl and Makes a Pact


2. Lena Plans an Escape

Guess what happened in those chapters? If you guessed that Lena buys a puppy, sorry, but you’re wrong.

I knew from the get-go that this would be a book about self-discovery, and Lena trying to find out who she really is, yada, yada, yada, emotional something there, emotional something here, but I didn’t know that all the self discovery would happen in the last 15% or so (which, to be honest, is probably the only good thing I have to say about this book).

The last 15% percent of The Peculiars was actually good, to my disbelief. I was happy to see Lena finally get some backbone and stick up for herself towards Mrs. Fetiscue.

”What do my hands and feet have to do with who I am? I don’t know who I am. But do you know who you are? Does anyone really? What makes a decent person? Does being the same as everyone else mean being better than other people or does it just make it easier to look down your nose at them?”

You go, Lena! Finally sticking up for yourself.

There were some good quotes in the book (of course they’re all about self discovery, family, etc.), but there were also some really stupid ones, such as:

”A fine white snow floated down as if a baker were in the sky, sifting powdered sugar over a plain, brown world”

Seriously? A baker in the sky?

But if you want to read one of the ones I found to be good, here’s one:

”It’s not your family who defines you; they’re an influence, all right, but they don’t have the final say, we answer that for ourselves.”

Yeah, it’s kind of cheesy and I notice it’s been done before, but I still liked it.

If only the whole book was like the last 15%, this book would have gotten a higher rating from me, probably a four, maybe even a five. But sadly, the rest of the book wasn’t like the last 15%, and was painfully boring, and that’s why I’m giving The Peculiars two stars. If there will be a sequel (which I don’t think there will be), I don’t know if I’ll be reading it, because I don’t know where McQuerry could possibly go with this story, but who knows. It seems I’m one of the few who think negatively of the book, so give this book a try; I’ll be interested in knowing if I’m the only one who didn’t like it.

*This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley*


  1. I loved the creativity and the fun of this book. The story and characters will leave you thinking about The Peculiars long after finishing the book. The cover is amazing and made me want to read it despite the lack luster blurb. You've got to read this one! It's a great ride!

    Click here for Ipe Decking information


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog!