Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly byTitle: Something Susan Dennard

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Author: Susan Dennard
Published: 2012 by Harper Teen
Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a trilogy, Susan Dennard weaves together vividly imagined scenes of action, adventure, and gorgeous Victorian fashion to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers who love Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series will be intrigued from the start.

I have heard nothing but good things about this series. It combines so many things that I absolutely love in my reading. It's a Young Adult Historical Fantasy/Mystery set in the Victorian era with zombies! And while I enjoyed so many things about this book, I didn't quite love it as much as I had hoped.

One thing that I did love about this book was the world that Susan Dennard created. Like all good Historical Fiction you are able to immerse yourself in the period and understand what it was like for a young women growing up in a world that is at odds between what she wants and what others want for her. But even more than that Dennard effortlessly balanced the realism of the historical period with the supernatural elements of the dead coming to life. It seemed so natural and normal to have something so outrageous as zombies walking into the Centennial Exhibit and wreaking havoc. On top of all that there was a very cool steampunk vibe with all kinds of creative machines used to help fight the zombies.

But what I also liked about this book was the characters. The main character, Eleanor Fitt, was far from perfect but that's what made her so great a character. Throughout most of the book I kept wondering why she doubted herself so much. She was such a strong and brave character because she didn't outwardly try to be a hero. But when she needed to be a hero, to stand up and fight, she had no problem doing what needed to be done. And while I'm not sure even she would believe it, she was a great problem-solver. In addition to Eleanor there were some great secondary characters. All the Spirit-Hunters were fantastic but no one was more fantastic than Daniel Sheridan. I didn't quite know how I felt about him until I quite literally swooned. The romance between him and Eleanor was the slowburn romance that I always prefer seeing. But he wasn't just a one trick pony. He was complex and interesting and like the other Spirit-Hunters played a role in the group that you would not have expected. The book was full of interesting and layer characters that I always love reading about.

But with all the good there were some things about the book that I didn't quite enjoy and sadly the biggest thing with that was the plot and mystery of the book. At first I was quite intrigued by the prospect of why exactly the zombies were rising and attacking the city. But then it became evident to me much sooner than it did to the characters who was responsible. I normally like being able to solve the twists but sometimes it is frustrating. I was a little disappointed by the way things developed. It was like the basis of the plot was something that I found quite obvious. But it was redeemed a little by the action of the story. The book was full of thrilling fight scenes that captured my interest despite the lack of mystery.

This is the first book in a trilogy and I'm honestly quite interested in to see where the series develops because while there are some things unresolved it seemed pretty well wrapped up. But I did like that about the book. It's kind of refreshing to have a book in a trilogy that doesn't end in a cliffhanger.

I give Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard a 8 out of 10

Have you read Something Strange and Deadly? What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I read Something Strange and Deadly recently as well, and I loved it because it was so unique and action packed with great characters- but I do agree with you that I guessed the mystery very early on, and I got a little tired of the mystery build up when I'd known what was going on. I still really enjoyed it, however, and now I've read the second book and it's on to the third hopefully sometime soon!

    1. Do they get more mysterious? I'm on the second now and I'm so afraid that it's going to be the same thing. I'm pretty sure I've figured the twist out again but I'm hoping it's a red herring.

  2. OOh nice review! I am actually just starting this one! Made it 3 chapters in before it was time for a blogging break! So I can't say much about it yet myself. Not much has happened, but what has happened is definitely interesting, if puzzling! So yeah, I definitely gotta read more before I form an opinion! Glad to hear it was good, if a bit predictable with the mystery. I haven't met many characters yet, so I can't say who-dun-it yet, but now I do have a suspicion or 2! Again, great review!

    1. Puzzling is a good way of putting it. I'm excited to see your review. I know you read a lot more supernatural books than I do and I've been wondering what a fan of the genre thinks of this series!