• A Peculiar Peril

  • The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead
  • By: Jeff VanderMeer
  • Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
  • Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (138 ratings)

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A Peculiar Peril

By: Jeff VanderMeer
Narrated by: Raphael Corkhill
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Publisher's Summary

A Peculiar Peril is a head-spinning epic about three friends on a quest to protect the world from a threat as unknowable as it is terrifying, from the Nebula Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer. 

Jonathan Lambshead stands to inherit his deceased grandfather’s overstuffed mansion - a veritable cabinet of curiosities - once he and two schoolmates catalog its contents. But the three soon discover that the house is filled with far more than just oddities: It holds clues linking to an alt-Earth called Aurora, where the notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley has stormed back to life on a magic-fueled rampage across a surreal, through-the-looking-glass version of Europe replete with talking animals (and vegetables). 

Swept into encounters with allies more unpredictable than enemies, Jonathan pieces together his destiny as a member of a secret society devoted to keeping our world separate from Aurora. But as the ground shifts and allegiances change with every step, he and his friends sink ever deeper into a deadly pursuit of the profound evil that is also chasing after them. 

Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

©2020 Jeff VanderMeer (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about A Peculiar Peril

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book with "all the things in it"

Did you know that a woodpecker's tongue wraps around its brain? It does. I looked it up. If you read that, and just kept on reading my review with no problem, you will probably like this book. It is *not,* in my opinion, "just awful." It is not, in my opinion, a book designed for young readers. Judge for yourself. If it is a YA book, I could not tell. It *is* weird, funny, rambling, and things explode. Like Ruth's Pouch it has "all the things in it." It is a much lighter hearted book then VanderMeer's other books. Even so, there is no mistaking who wrote it. As always, there is fungus.

9 people found this helpful

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oh my..just awful

I tried ...I really tried! I just couldn't follow it at all. I even started over 3 times thinking maybe I just missed something....but nope....its just bad. I wanted all of the characters to slowly die but they don't. I couldn't even finish it.

8 people found this helpful

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FAB!

Seriously loving this book by Jeff VanderMeer​! It is like Animal Farm and Harry Potter had a baby while watching Locke and Key in Hill House! I highly recommend! The reader was also a perfect choice.

7 people found this helpful

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Intriguing but Mostly Nonsense

This book is enormous with a lot of moving parts. There are so many instances where dialogue is transitioned from one person to another with little to no indication of the switch. There are many many things thrown in just to be wacky, which isn't necessarily bad, but the sheer quantity of them made following the important parts of the story very difficult to figure out. The ending also relies too heavily on the book being a series. It almost feels like the entirety of the book was carefully crafted nonsense to build excitement for a sequel that I suspect will be equally difficult to read.

3 people found this helpful

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A little over the top

I love Jeff VanderMeer, and this was definitely had some of his hallmark mind-bending world building - but the over-the-top absurdity kinda wore me out by the end. I mean, I'm curious to know what happens to the characters in subsequent books...but not enough to actually read them. Great narration though.

3 people found this helpful

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Wow! Highly imaginative and fabulous performance!

This is a fantastic story that is just as much fun for adults! VanderMeer is a master at creating worlds and filling them with wonderful, wacky, endearing and horrifying characters. This adventure across worlds made me laugh out loud many times! Also felt grossed out, scared, and endeared to the most unexpected characters. Hold on for the ride as this narrarator brings them all to life with perfect timing and fun voices, putting on a magnificent performance. The mystery continues and I am looking forward to Book 2!

2 people found this helpful

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Systematically demolished a good story

The story line was inventive and had potential.Unfortunately the author put more energy into ironic repartee then consistent world building and character development.

1 person found this helpful

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STARTED 3 TIMES, COULDN'T GET PAST CHAP 29

I struggled and struggled to like this book - to just SEMI-VISUALIZE the world that I kept 'bribing' myself to just 'read one more chapter' - but I could not get involved in the story - the characters - and the fluctuating premise. It was like a horrendous combination of Alice in Wonderland meets the Satanic Empire. I expected strange characters and landscapes - but there just never seemed to be enough DESCRIPTION of the walking & talking oddities that kept turning up 'en masse'. You need to take a really extreme pledge to just keep reading and hope that eventually your 'inner eye' will finally open so you can see what is happening. The plot is simply covered with 'strangeness', but it occasionally pops back into sight to 'keep you on the right track' - then veers off again with introduction of another mind-boggling oddity. After making THREE attempts to start it again, I never got past chapter 29. I couldn't remember what I had 'read' the evening before, I'd have to re-read part of it to 'remember' what I'd read before. That is NOT the way one should enjoy a book. Premise was reasonable - friends go on a quest and weird things happen along the way. But when the 'super star satanic villain' houses himself in a humongous elephant whose innards have been redecorated to suit the new owner, I decided to bail...not like the character (who had a 'private exit' through the elephant's anal 'slide'). I should have stopped reading when the somehow alive talking head of Napoleon appeared - and sometimes disappeared. Perhaps it will someday appear as a film - which might attract more interest. Sad to have to return it - it seemed so promising when I read the description.

1 person found this helpful

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Uniquely thrilling

Loved this book, I have loved most of Jeff Vandermeer's fiction... But this one was surprisingly easy to get into, but still has the bizarreness & deep philosophical umpf that I've come to expect from the author. Amazing performance, superb writing. An adventure I loved to be a part of, and hope for more in this universe.

1 person found this helpful

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epic fantasy

another great book by this author. its like Lord of the rings mashed with Harry Potter mashed with hitchhikers guide with a bunch of awesome weirdness on top.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G. Watkins
  • 08-26-20

What an amazing and strangely weird story

The narrator of this story really brings it to life in a way that simply reading the book, for me at least, would not. The plot and characterization is brilliant, if a little strange.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a little weird in their stories, of which this has plenty. I eagerly await the next book in the series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Prester Jim
  • 04-17-22

Thibault's On The Phone Again (There Is No Phone)

Mischievous multiversal mayhem with this mix of secret society fantasy quest, alternative history, interdimensional invasion, surrealist steampunk and droll period pastiche from celebrated sci-fi wunderkind, Jeff VanderMeer. Promoted as a YA book, this appears mostly due to the orphaned teenage hero and the seams of dark humour and quirky whimsy that run riot throughout, for otherwise the story begins in medias res, with the listener thrown headfirst into a sea of dense narrative threads and arcane detail, and left to swim their way back to the shore of comprehension unaided. The writing is vividly imaginative, archly post-modern and packed with grotesque absurdity (sympathetic abomination, Ruth Less, ravenous at a book club is a good example). With elements of Moorcock's 'Eternal Champion' series and the perennial Chronicles Of Narnia, this is probably closer to things like China Mieville's 'Un Lun Dun' or Terry Gilliam's 'Time Bandits'. YA, perhaps, but definitely for the smart kids. Frankly, it's also too long, becoming sprawling and self-indulgent; some tight editing could have sharpened up the pacing considerably. These flaws are only heightened by the rather arbitrary and unfocused ending (the story to be concluded in a second volume, apparently).
Still, Raphael Corkhill's thespian narration is a pleasure. Slow and deliberately-enunciated, he adopts the tone of a Victorian Gentleman, which suits both the gothic imagery and humour very well indeed.

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  • paf
  • 10-10-22

Absolutely amazing!

I totally loved this book.

The characters and settings are fantastical, and sometimes utterly bizarre - but the threads of narrative are strong and cohesive, so it always makes sense.

The narration is excellent - Raphael Corkhill is perfect for this book. He has a very rich voice that is easy to listen to, and he performs a wide range of amazing accents and voices that are always perfect for the character. (His Retch voice gave me thrilling feelings!)

Can't wait for the next book!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-01-21

this was just annoying

I really didn't like this book I'm shocked by the accents and the overall feel of the story. I really couldn't connect and as much as I wanted to be interested I just found it convoluted and overly childish.

I also thought that there was some really bad narration about privilege which obviously was regarding the writing but still made me mad.

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  • Anna Cherkasova
  • 08-24-20

loved it!

Loved the story. Very original, good combination of horror, humour and joyful weirdness. There reader is beyond excellent!