Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: 'The Peculiars' by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Lena lives in a Britain run on steam power and wrestling with the issue of the less-than-civilized territory of Scree to the north.  Scree is an almost-mythical place where "peculiars", those who are not quite like the rest of humanity, originate.  Born with abnormally long hands and feet, a characteristic her grandmother says was handed down from her goblin father, Lena yearns to discover her true place in society.  In an effort to discover the truth about her mysterious father, Lena travels to the northernmost outpost of Britain on the border of Scree where she discovers that truth can be fluid and being true to oneself is more important than discovering the past.

McQuerry has created a fascinating world that seamlessly blends aspects of steampunk and fantasy fiction into a melting-pot world of people, steam engines and creatures from legend.  People with wings, goblin-human hybrids and Scree cats leap from the pages to grab readers' imagination.  Lena is a character teens will relate to who's journey will keep readers pinned to the pages (though some of her choices will have readers gritting their teeth).  Her mistakes make her even more believable.  Secondary characters are given a depth not often found in YA fiction, which just adds to the development of the world.  Motivations for all the characters are multi-layered and very human.  There is a bit of a learning curve for readers as the novel starts, but the story and characters are enough to keep teen interested.  Highly recommended.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewer: Rebecca

Recommended for Ages: 12+

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