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The Peculiar Audiobook, by Stefan Bachmann Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Stefan Bachmann Narrator: Peter Altschuler Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780062227683
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (770 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings—Peculiars—and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley—Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Bachmann’s prose is beautiful, and his story is swift, strong, and entertaining. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Bachmann writes next.”

    Christopher Paolini, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eragon

  • “Stefan Bachmann breathes fresh life into ancient magic.”

    Rick Riordan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Percy Jackson & the Olympians

  • “So polished and fun to read…[it] recalls Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and more recent classics, such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events…[Bachmann’s] prose is so elegantly witty, it’s as if he absorbed them and is writing by osmosis…[An] unusually gifted young writer.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “When a teenager writes a publishable book, it’s noteworthy, but when the book is this good, it’s something special…[Bachmann] has a polished and witty writing style; his characters are skillfully developed, the action is nonstop, and his faery society is fascinating. An absolute treat for readers of any age.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “First-time novelist Bachmann crafts an elaborate alternate steampunk Britain…Imaginative, highly descriptive writing includes faerie lore and mystery, thrilling adventure and friendship, and bursts of the fantastic and whimsical, all of which is tempered with a darkness that permeates the story.”


  • “Combines fantasy, mystery, and suspense with a wry humor and unusual characters to create an intriguing, thought-provoking whole that will leave readers looking forward to sequels.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A promising, atmospheric fantasy debut.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the Fall 2012 Kids' Indie Next List: Top Ten
  • A 2012 Publishers Weekly Best Book: Children's Fiction

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marty | 2/16/2014

    " It was ok...not great just kind of weird. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/28/2014

    " Imagine a steampunk-laced London that is populated not only with human Londoners, but also faeries, changelings and other mysterious, magical creatures. Bartholomew is a changeling, who, along with his younger sister, Hettie, has been in hiding for fear of being seen. He's grown up with his mother saying to him, "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged." And, it turns out, he and Hettie have very good reason to hide because when they do get noticed, their world turns upside down. Pair this with the storyline of Mr. Jelliby, a human working in the London government right alongside faeries who have invaded their world. When changeling children start turning up dead in the Thames, Mr. Jelliby finds himself thrust into the middle of the mystery and feels an overwhelming duty to his country to stop the evil at work. Stefan Bachmann has incredible way with words. Not only are his characters and plot interesting, the quality of the writing is downright amazing for someone who started writing this book at the age of 16 (he's 18 now). I can see shades of Jonathan Stroud and neil Gaiman in his work--high praise indeed. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because it ended a little abruptly and it's quite clear now (which it wasn't on the cover of the ARC) that this is the beginning of a series. In any case, I can't wait to read the next book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 1/19/2014

    " A new favorite. The book is a fast pace beginning to what I hope will bring many more books. The author does a great job at bringing the reader into this strange steampunk world where faeries and clockwork horses are the norm. I can't wait to read the next one! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sabrina | 1/15/2014

    " Amazing! Loved the steampunk London setting and there was a great twist on fairies. I love fairies but this was an interesting take on them. Looking forward to the next one! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marie | 1/12/2014

    " Absolutely horrendous. I don't even want to rate it or deign it with a review. The writing was despicable and the plot line went no where, fast. I hate judging books so harshly but it was indeed one of the worst books I've ever read. Don't know how it even got picked up by a publisher. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 1/9/2014

    " First book in a series ... but a series seriously worth following. Full review will be on my blog Tuesday! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coreen | 1/5/2014

    " The author was 16 (16!!!) when he started writing this very well-written, imaginative, cleverly crafted story. I certainly hope there is a sequel as the ending left me wanted more of the story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 12/6/2013

    " A little like Bertie Wooster fights bad magical bad guys. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelleyd | 12/3/2013

    " A "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel" for middle grade readers! I loved this alternative history of UK where the fey are part of everyday English life and even treated like second class citizens. Longer review to come. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 10/1/2013

    " Nice little steampunk story for young readers. Part 1 of 2. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 8/17/2013

    " A wonderful debut from this author. Recommended at WriteOnCon 2012. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda | 1/17/2013

    " Creepy and dark--and with a bittersweet, open ending that makes me wish the sequel would come out later today. The move between the peculiar child and the upper-class gentleman took some getting used to, but by the end I loved how everything came together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrie | 12/19/2012

    " The Peculiar is a wonderfully imaginative novel. This is a tale which combines fairy lore, Victorian Gothic and Steampunk. Changelings or half fae children are being kidnapped and murdered as part of a sinister plot. Read this book you will not be disappointed! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 12/2/2012

    " children's fiction; faery fantasy + a lil steampunk + action/adventure. "

About the Author

Stefan Bachmann is a writer and musician. He was born in Colorado and now lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland, where he attends the Zurich Conservatory. He began writing The Peculiar in 2010 when he was sixteen years old.

About the Narrator

Bruce Mann, Earphones Award–winning narrator,studied classical acting at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has been a successful voice-over artist and actor for over ten years.