Friday, January 22, 2016

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

From Goodreads:
There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she's just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she'll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Rating: 4 Stars
Something Strange and Deadly is Susan Dennard’s debut and I can’t for the life of me figure out why I waited so long to read this. To be completely honest I didn’t know much about the author until whispers for Truthwitch came along. I had seen the Something Strange & Deadly trilogy around and was curious about it but things always seemed to get in the way. Then, last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Dennard and I knew, based on her personality alone, that I would read anything she writes. She is by far one of the coolest, nicest people I have ever met and I really hope I will get to meet her again.

The distinctive concept presented in Something Strange and Deadly was something that grabbed my attention from the very first page and held it until the very last page. The book is very unique in its composition, an excellent blend of Victorian era, steampunk elements, zombies, spirits, necromancers, and voodoo. Dennard is a remarkable storyteller, with a remarkable ability to create rich, vivid, and visually stunning scenes and an impressive ability to develop unforgettable, easy to love characters. Dennard portrayed several ethnicities in her characters which was a pleasant surprise as I am a huge supporter of diversity in YA.

Eleanor is a very well developed, easy to love character from the beginning; she is smarty, witty, snarky, and sassy, all traits that will endear her to the reader. With her brother missing, her family is almost penniless, and her mother trying to marry her off to any rich young man, Eleanor seems to have her plate full. But when all hell breaks loose in Philadelphia, she must find a way to get her brother back before it’s too late. So she enlists the help of the Spirit Hunters who are entrusted to protect the city from supernatural forces. I adored the Sprit Hunters: Joseph, Jie, and Daniel were all charming in their own way and I quickly became attached to all of them. I particularly liked the time Dennard took to develop individual relationships between Eleanor and each of the Sprit Hunters; each relationship was beautifully crafted. The Spirit Hunters introduce Eleanor to a whole new world she didn’t know existed and it’s plain to see that she truly belongs to it, even more so than the proper cookie cutter world she is forced to live in.

The plot, while a bit predictable at times, still allowed for surprises. Dennard introduced me to a genre I didn’t know I was missing out on: steampunk, and for that I am grateful. I particularly enjoyed Dennard’s original take on zombies. She did not make them the main ‘baddie’ of the book, but rather tools used by a mastermind necromancer. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the necromancer that had me guessing and second-guessing everything. There are magic elements used woven with science to create a perfect blend that is sure to satisfy fans of both paranormal and steampunk as there are many unique, creative, and original inventions that are presented and explained throughout the book.

Overall, Something Strange and Deadly was a fast-paced, exciting read that kept me captivated until the very last sentence. This book had it all: adventure, action, magic, romance, and mystery. It was an outstanding read, unique in its composition, with amazing characters that I am fully invested in and cannot wait to learn more about. The first book created the perfect setting for the sequels giving the reader vague glimpses and clues on future locations and what’s to come. Something Strange and Deadly ended on a very interesting note, to say the least, and I cannot wait to see what adventures Eleanor embarks on in A Darkness Strange and Lovely. 

1 comment:

  1. I know I can't believe I waited this long either but I'm glad we are reading it!