SciFi Book Review: The Peculiars

The Paculiars

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Synopsis:
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.

Review:
Lena is a sympathetic character who has felt out of place her entire life because of a physical deformity. She believes her father may be a Peculiar living in Scree, a rough area and safe haven of sorts for Peculiars. Her new friend (and love interest) young Jimson has a scientific mind and is naturally skeptical and doesn’t believe the rumors of Peculiars. But even Jimson is forced to open his mind when he witnesses a girl with wings outside of Mr. Beasley’s home.

This young adult novel is a charming blend of steampunk, scifi/fantasy and romance. McQuerry’s early American world of mutant Peculiars is mysterious and captivating. With steam-powered gadgets, colorful characters, and a suspenseful plot – it easily made my list of top books of 2012. The Peculiars is a beautiful coming-of-age story, unique and impossible to put down. I’ll be looking forward to a sequel which will hopefully answer more questions behind the Peculiars lore.

Received in December

The following are the books, DVDs, and Blu-Rays I received in December for review and/or giveaways:

Blu-Rays / DVDs:
Merlin Series 5 – Episodes 1-3

Abrams Young Readers / Amulet:
Misfit by Jon Skovron
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Splintered by A. G. Howard

Ace:
Doktor Glass by Thomas Brennan
Doctor Who the Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter
The Shadow’s Heir by K. J. Taylor
The Ramal Extraction by Steve Perry

Atria:
White Horse by Alex Adams

Daw:
Battle by Michelle West

Del Rey:
Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Harper Teen / Katherine Tegen Books:
The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons by Barbara Mariconda

Little, Brown for Young Readers:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
Altered by Jennifer Rush

Marshall Cavendish:
The Call of Eirian by C. Aubrey Hall

Orbit Books:
The Ascendant Stars by Michael Cobley
The Orphaned Worlds by Michael Cobley
Spirit’s End by Rachel Aaron
Seven Kings by John R. Fultz

Paizo:
Pathfinder Tales: Called to Darkness by Richard Lee Byers

Pocket / Gallery Books:
Day by Day Armageddon: Shattered Hourglass by J. L. Bourne
Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Pyr:
The Doctor and the Rough Rider by Mike Resnick
The Steam Mole by Dave Freer
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
A Red Sun Also Rises by Mark Hodder
The Devil’s Looking Glass by Mark Chadbourn

Scholastic / Point / Chicken House:
Shadow Breakers by Daniel Blythe
The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Titan Books:
Assassin’s Creed 1: Desmond by Djillali Defali and Eric Corbeyran
Assassin´s Creed 2: Aquilus by Djillali Defali and Eric Corbeyran
Assassin’s creed 3: Accipiter by Djillali Defali and Eric Corbeyran
Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren Estleman
The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock
Hadon of Ancient Opar by Philip Jose Farmer

Tor / Forge:
Hellhole: Awakening by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan
Farseed by Pamela Sargent
The Hermetic Millennia by John C. Wright
Luck of the Draw by Piers Anthony
Dinosaur Thunder by James F. David
The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller

SciFi Book Review: Altered

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Synopsis:
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch, at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart.

When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna’s father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. On the run, with her father’s warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Review:
Anna lives a strange life, yet she seems to take for granted these four young men that live in her father’s lab. She has a great friendship with Cas and Trev. Nick seems to hate her, yet she still chooses to interact with him. And Sam is the most guarded and secretive, but for some reason Anna falls for him out of all of the guys. Anna’s chemistry with Cas and Trev is much more believable, but she treats them more like brothers. But as the story unfolds, and the young men learn more about their forgotten pasts, Anna’s place among them begins to make more sense.

Mystery, science fiction, and adventure make for heart-pounding excitement in this impressive debut. With plenty of twists and surprises along the way, the suspense and intensity doesn’t let up till the very end. First in a new trilogy, Altered is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that will leave readers eager for the next in the series.

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