Cover Image: A Peculiar Peril

A Peculiar Peril

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Member Reviews

Of all the VanderMeers, this one is the silliest - and I don't mean that as a criticism. Retaining the all-encompassing strangeness of worlds like The Southern Reach, A Peculiar Peril includes many signatures of VanderMeer that all his fans of any age will recognize and appreciate: strange bears, strange plants, strange doors. Though more wholly fantasy than his other works, A Peculiar Peril is still both weird and Weird. An easier read than something like Ambergris, this was refreshing for my overworked, pandemic-addled brain. Evil magicians, alternate worlds, and the floating head of Napoleon himself. What more could you ask for?
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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As a result of my various committee appointments and commitments I am unable to disclose my personal thoughts on this title at this time. Please see my star rating for a general overview of how I felt about this title. Additionally, you may check my GoodReads for additional information on what thoughts I’m able to share publicly. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this and any other titles you are in charge of.
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I have never read this author. This looked to be great but I was disappointed. The humor missed the mark and I felt the story was all over the place and way too long. .
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A very long-winded downer full of unfunny humor. JVM is truly self-confident in his wit, and has a significant following in tow. His works are rather polarized, imho, ranging from excellent to blind-spottingly poor. Afraid this beast of an effort fall in the latter.
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This book is pretty different from your average VanderMeer novel, but it just shows the breadth of his ideas and skills. I loved the humor and the mystery present in this book, as well as the historical allusions. And of course the cover is pretty, like many of VanderMeer's books!
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I think I’ve finally found an author who has the exact same sense of humor as I do. 

I’ve seen a lot of DNFs on this book amongst the reviews, which bums me out because I loved it. I’ve seen some valid complaints that it’s too long (Yes, this certainly could have been edited down quite a bit) to the less convincing complaint that it’s boring and not much happens (Huh? Did we read the same book?)

The length is certainly intimidating and I’ll agree that there is some effluvia that didn’t need to be included, but mostly the length is the product of excellent world building and humor. 

Plot and content-wise, I might surmise that this book isn’t for everyone. Whether your sense of humor vibes with the author’s (mine definitely did) is a huge factor. What your background is in terms of literary/historical education matters as well (there are loads of jokes and plot points that just won’t make sense if you’re not familiar with the historical context), and a large cast who meander their way to the crux of the story rather than barrel right for it is, I’ll acknowledge, not universally appealing. 

But for me, this story hit all the right notes. It’s sort of a kitchen sink of separate elements I like in a fantasy book (crumbly old house, inclusion of real world history, humor). 

I loved that the book is both grand in scope in terms of plot and detail-oriented in terms of humor. How can you not love a story that includes an uppity, sorta kinda alive disembodied Napoleon head, a sentient golden sphere that may be up to no good, a very bizarre book club discussing “Michel Proust’s A Goose’s Way,” and a wheelchair with gun mounts?

It’s been a while since I’ve laughed this much at a book, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy that made me laugh so hard. This book is a gem.
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I wasn't able to finish this one. It just didn't strike me and was long-winded and didn't focus on the actual plot.
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It absolutely breaks my heart to say this because VanderMeer is one of my favorite authors but I have struggled immensely to get into this book. I may try to buy a physical copy and see if that helps, but as is DNF at 15%
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I’ve heard about Jeff VanderMeer, but I’d never gotten around to reading any of his books until now. I was surprised. I really expected to love this, the premise sounds so interesting. We have magic, alternate universes, oddities and secret societies. Where it fell short for me was, it dragged on a lot. There was so much going on and so much  to keep up with, but it wasn’t super interesting. I will say, it was pretty neat seeing parallels to other beloved series, but still it was a bit boring. I may continue on with the next book, to see where the story goes, but I’m not sure just yet.
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I have a love/hate relationship with VanderMeer and was fully expecting to DNF this one. (It took me several tries to get through the first two books in [book:Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy|22752442]). However, I enjoyed the parallel Earth in the story, it's silliness reminded me of [author:Terry Pratchett|1654]'s Discworld, but this was a bit darker.
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The beginning was a fun quirky intro. I ended up putting it down for now as it then became a little too much on the quirky and not enough plot for me. Might pick up again later.
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This book was too meandering for me to finish. I was just not drawn into the story after reading 25% of the way through. I am sure it will appeal to other audiences, but not to me! I do think the premise is interesting, however.
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This book is weird and interesting. It reminded me of the writing style of Ransom Riggs series while the entrance into the unknown reminded me of Narnia. I love romance in a book, but I have been trying to read new genres. This book is going to be one of my top recommendations for mg students looking for something new in YA and especially my students who are not big into swoon. 

If you are looking for a weird but intriguing adventure into the unknown then this is your next read!
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This book is just too: too many characters, too little explanation, too long, too complicated. While some of it is awesome, I have no idea what is actually supposed to be going on. The friends don't seem to like each other. All alliances seem to be temporary at best. Lots of "war", but why? Millions of deaths, but every named character comes back to life again and again, with or without a body. I wanted to like this so much, but I really can't recommend it to anyone.
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When his grandfather dies, Jonathan Lambshead inherits a mansion and is tasked with cataloging his grandfather’s massive collection of oddities.  This results in a series of adventures for Jonathan and his friends as they explore alt-history worlds, a mysterious occult order, and learn about the Lambshead family history.  For fans of Edgar Cantero and Neil Gaiman.
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While I appreciate the world that VanderMeer created, I felt toppled by the details - like someone walking through a hoarded mansion of lovely ideas. The things I wanted to stop and look at he regarded as droll and moved on quickly, and the things I thought were boring he explored to its core. 

As with most of Jeff's work, his execution never fulfills the promise of an incredible story. While I do find his approach to YA literature more palatable than his adult fiction, I still think he needs to listen more to his characters, stop and take a breath, and learn to better coax a storyline from the page.
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Jeff VanderMeer is truly unique with his first YA book. It has its moments, and definitely interesting. Overall, maybe a bit too long, but I would recommend to young adults looking for quirky, unique mysteries.
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I loved the Annihilation series by Jeff VanderMeer. Unfortunately, his other books just don't do it for me. I would recommend this book to those who really love weird science fiction because that is what it is.
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I would like to thank NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. A Peculiar Peril reads as an alternate history/ fantasy story told as two books and broken up into several parts. It tells the story of Jonathan Lambshead, a teenager who inherits a spooky mansion from his grandfather. This mansion serves as a hub between alternate versions of Planet Earth. There is a secret society known as The Order who fight to preserve the doors that enable travelling between these parallel worlds and keep the order of the universe. We find Jonathan going on a journey of self-discovery, joined by an eccentric cast of characters, as he soon realizes he knows more about this world than he previously thought. Meanwhile, an evil dictator threatens to unleash dark magic and bring upon chaos into this world.  Aurora, the iteration of Earth explored in this story, is like the Earth we know in many ways but also very different. We find several historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Rimbaud. I found these alternate versions of historical characters very interesting and I loved how Jeff Vardermeer adapted them in many imaginative ways to match the diverse technologies that exist in Aurora. There are also major events in the history of our Earth that did not happen in this alternate history. The author does an excellent job at illustrating the many consequences of these changes. There are some really creative character designs ranging from morphing 3D shapes, talking vegetables, weapons that dispense attacking animals, pig-like creatures, to mechanical war elephants—just to name a few. A Peculiar Peril is a story of robust length delivered in satirical, whimsical prose. It features a large cast of characters and the plot contains many working pieces. By the book’s end, I felt rewarded for my investment in this story.  I look forward to the next novel in the series.
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