The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"The Whatnot" is what a strange woman in the Old Country calls Hettie, as if she's not a Peculiar (half-human/half-fairy) and instead a collectable. Hettie is in Piscaltine's very odd house, filled with walls that move and a clock that chimes moods, following a very long walk through Deepest Winter with a fairy butler. All she wants is to be found by her brother - she doesn't want to be Piscaltine's friend and she's afraid of the other fairies.
Barty, Hettie's brother, is, in fact, looking for her, searching among the few remaining fairy folk in London. He finds Pikey Thomas, also a Peculiar, who claims he's seen Hettie in his "odd" eye (it's not like your eye or mine, it's cold and grey and doesn't see things in this world. and a "gift" from some fairy.) The two travel around England, looking for a door into the Old Country, where they'll find and rescue Hettie.
This isn't bad fantasy. At times it's a little rushed or confusing, but what bothered me (and won't matter to younger readers) is how derivative it is. For example, eating Piscaltine's cake will forever trap Hettie in the Old Country, or the mischievous cobble fairies. On the other hand, much to its credit, this isn't a sequel that depends on the reader having read the first book.
ARC provided by publisher.