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I wasn't sure what to expect from a YA Jeff Vandermeer book, but essentially this is over six-hundred pages of Jeff Vandermeer. If you like Jeff Vandermeer's other books, you'll probably love this. If you don't know who Jeff Vandermeer is, you should know that unlike some writers of epic young adult fantasy, Jeff Vandermeer is an excellent prose stylist. He's also incredibly imaginative, and leans into the weird pretty hard.
This book, like all his books, has its own style. It's told in a sort of British-clever voice, and is at once that, and a send-up of that. There are also sections of this book that are just beautifully written, and caused me to go back over them just to see how they were put together to create the effect they have. There are plenty of likeable and strange characters, and the world being set up is full of unexpected surprises.
Although this book in some sense has the spine of a typical fantasy quest, the details and rules of the world being built here really distinguish it from other fantasy. This book features talking marmots, Alistair Crowley, the disembodied head of Napoleon, and a slew of other characters I don't want to spoil. As I understand it, A Peculiar Peril is either the first part of a duology, or the first two parts of a tetrology. In any case, the book comes to a satisfying close, but there are plenty of interesting plot threads that need resolving.
VanderMeer lets his freak flag fly in this novel of adventure, intrigue, and... marmots. A peculiar peril draws from many classic fantasies but is also wholly unique (enter bodiless Napoleon as a secondary character). My only qualm is that occasionally, early on the dialogue felt forced, and in the middle of the book, the plot seemed to move along a little slowly. I can state however, that I have never read a book quite like it. A Peculiar Peril is funny, and although there are multiple beheadings, and the wholesale slaughter of rabid chipmunks (to power giant war machines of course), it almost always feels lighthearted. I do recommend, but just prepare yourself for unyielding weirdness.
Well, I don't exactly know how to review this book. It started very well, I was caught by the novelty of the style and the introduction of the charactar, then within a short time the plot became so complex and even wierd that I could not follow it. Maybe other readers can find there way with this book.
What a truly silly but above all fun read! Decided after the dystopias, I’d finally read this truly wonderful tale that I bought a year ago. The warnings on the book are quite correct this is not a normal book! Still the characters are quite grounded especially Jonathan and his friends who were the most enjoyable to follow!
Much like the last few Vandermeer works we are introduced to parallel worlds that are very different but apparently connected to our world and somehow Jonathan Lambshead is the center of it all, along with his family or lack there of. The characters are the best part of this story including Napoleon the head and a dark bat like creature just called ‘Wretch’. Danny and Rack, Jonathan’s friends are a lively bunch as well along with a talking rat named Tee-Tee who lives on Danny’s shoulder. An extremely bizarre story and mystery unfolds as more is revealed to the characters and the reader. I was laughing, felt like I was being watched but often just enjoyed the cornucopia of weird things the world of ‘Aurora’ had to offer!
Loved the twist at the end but this whole 2 book introduction ends with as many questions as answers but a very satisfying end for the current story told. Do hope there is more books in the works. Would love to see where the characters go from here! I seriously need to know more about ‘The Builders’ and how Jonathan fits in to it all.
Loved the book in al its madness and insanity. However I did not think it was a kids or young adult fiction at all. I am 77, and at times I had to re read passages to figure out what was going on. The language can be a little spicy too at times. But I loved it and cannot wait for the sequel. But damn this is not a book for kids but mature young adults and old farts like me.
Great book! Haven't finished it yet but it was unexpectedly signed by the fantastic author which was a nice bonus having pre-ordered it. Otherwise, so far it is excellent writing that is to be expected at this point of Jeff VanderMeer. So far the book is PG and is probably a great introduction to this genre for anyone above age 13.