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The Peculiars

The Peculiars - Maureen Doyle McQuerry Published by ABRAMS
Imprint Amulet Books
Expected Publication May 1st, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating 3.5 out of 5

The Peculiars is a steampunk adventure starring Lena, a young woman who at her 18 years old, decides to travel to find her father. This is the first time in her life, Lena leaves the comforts of the city, and decides to start a journey, guided by a letter left by her father Saul. This journey begins in a train, where she meets Jimson, a young man who aspires to be the librarian at a private library, owned by Mr. Beasley, an inventor of steam technology.

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 cover can be seen at the book's author page, Maureen Doyle McQuerry.

The mood and atmosphere created in the story reminds me of the old west. I found interesting the technological elements added in the story through the inventions using steam. This theme is not the focus of the story, but offers something different. The atmosphere in the story is enhanced by the description of the characters. Their costumes, as are described in the story, exemplify this.

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.

Technology- 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.

Do I think about the characters?
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.