Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Release Date: 5/1/12
Synopsis from goodreads.com:
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.
My thoughts on the book:
Let me start this review by saying that I was super excited to read this book. I love Steam Punk, and I could not wait to see what kind of world McQuerry had created. I adored the world, and the characters were well-developed. However, the writing really threw me. I did not like how it switched from 1st person POV to 3rd person limited POV randomly throughout the book. It really took me out of the story and made it hard to focus. The fact that this happened when the character was remaining the same made the whole thing even more pointless. Honestly, it seems like some weird plot device just to make a book stand out. I didn't like it at all. Also, the pacing was slow as molasses. I had to put this book back several times and come back to it in order to finish it. If you enjoy a lot of world building and excruciatingly long descriptions, then this book is for you.
Lena was an interesting character. She didn't feel like she felt in anywhere, and because of that, she was easy to relate to and sympathize with. She made some terribly stupid decisions and wasn't the strongest of characters in some respects (she always wanted Jimson to "save" her, for example), but the flaws simply made her realistic. I loved Jimson. He had a great energy about him, and he was just a really terrific character. I know this was Lena's story, but I wish that if McQuerry had insisted on switching POVs that she'd switched between Lena and Jimson. That would have been extremely entertaining. I also loved Mr. Beasley. He was the sweetest man!
The plot itself was interesting, but not very suspenseful. There were some mysterious parts, but overall, there just wasn't any action or suspense to speak of. The concept kept me reading, and because of the lengthy descriptions, I could most certainly picture the world that McQuerry has created. This was an incredibly slow read for me, though. Also, with all of the descriptions, I felt like we should have known more what a Peculiar was. We learned about a couple of types of Peculiars, but didn't learn many details about them at all.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to those of you who like a lot of world-building and descriptions. Also, if POV switching doesn't bother you, then this book may be for you. It's a different concept, and it definitely stands out from most Steam Punk and YA novels today. If you're looking for something different, then give this book a try.
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