Middle-grade fantasy novel about England after a gate to the fairy world opened up, letting in fairies, creating a big war, and now the aftermath. The narration goes back and forth between Bartholomew, a “Peculiar” or a child who is the product of a fairy-human liaison, who lives with his mother and sister Hettie in the fairy slums of Bath, and a man named Arthur Jelliby who works on the British counsel with a fairy named Mr. Lickerish. Peculiars are being kidnapped by an unknown person, and when their bodies are fished out of the Thames, they are hollow and covered in strange markings. Hettie appears to be next on the list, and only Barth and Mr. Jelliby can do anything about it.
This is not a book I would have read – or even heard about – on my own. Back at the writer’s conference in June, I had breakfast at a table with an agent who mentioned and highly recommended this book. I immediately knew I had to read it, just because of the recommendation. (Or, at least, I had to give it a try.) I discovered it was on the SYNC Audio program for the summer right after that. That’s how oblivious to this book I was – I’d already seen the schedule and had skipped this particular book in my list of possible downloads! So I downloaded it and began listening to it as soon as I finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Well, I’m happy that the recommendation came to me, because it really was a good book! The audio production was fun to listen to, and I think the author’s mind – especially his imagination – is brilliant. Considering he wrote this book when he was 15 or 16, even more so. Though apparently, the kid is a certified genius, and is currently living in a music conservatory in Switzerland. So yeah. I did expect it to be childish, maybe immature writing, but if I hadn’t known beforehand the age of the author, I never would have guessed. It was not a factor at all.
So yes, very enjoyable, and I will definitely be listening to the sequel when I get that chance (the book doesn’t come out until September). Bachmann also has a YA novel coming out in the next few years about a mystery in an underground Versailles, which just blows me away. Seriously: brilliant imagination. Hopefully both imagination and story-telling skills will stay sharp as he moves into adulthood.