03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Melody H, Teen Books · Tags:

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry, 359 pages, read by Melody, on 03/01/2013

Whilst non-readers of science fiction and fantasy might contend that the genres by their very natures are fanciful and unrealistic, there are tenets to their storytelling as with any other writing.  One of the integral aspects of fantasy and science fiction is world-building.  A writer can choose to create a wholly new world or implant their story in a world already created like Oz or Grimm tales  Regardless of the type of world, there are rules.  One of the rules is that the world must make sense and if it our own world, is should be explained how it fits into our reality.  J. K.  Rowling inserts magic into our world by telling the reader that Muggles are unaware of the magical,  Laurell K Hamilton goes to great length discussing the coming out of fairies to society, Jim Butcher’s Chicago is full of citizens being surprised by the existence of the supernatural.  Thus lies my discontent with The Peculiars.  McQuerry goes to great length to firmly place the book in our world in the late 1800’s.  Her characters discuss Charles Darwin and evolution, steam engines rattle down rails, and horse power is being replaced by machines.  And yet, there is a land to the north called Scree where non-human creatures call Peculiars are rumored to live.  It was very unsettling and jarring, is this our world or is it not?  McQuerry is a good enough writer with an acceptable sense of pacing and characterization but I could not get past what I see as glaring flaws in her plot.

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