Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

July 25, 2012 Uncategorized 17

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Pub Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: SS&D #1
Source: Publisher for review

Purchase from Amazon: eBook | Hardcover

The year is 1876, and 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 their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.  [Goodreads]


Well, I have to say that Something Strange and Deadly was a pleasant surprise!  Yes, I was already excited to read it as soon as I heard about it, but I wasn’t quite expecting what this book contained.  Admittedly, I got a little concerned when I first started reading it, because it jumped right in and I was worried that it would just be a rushed story.  Turns out I had nothing to be worried about; it was actually a very fun mystery, with great characters.

The story takes place in Philadelphia during the 1876 World Exhibition, which intrigued me even more.  The Dead have started to rise, but the question is why.  Turns out there’s a necromancer in town who is making the zombies do his bidding.  And then to make matters worse, what was supposed to be a fun séance for entertainment, goes horribly wrong.  The author did a really good job at making it an exciting mystery.  I mean, I could pretty much tell who the necromancer was, but it was still a really fun ride.

I thought the main character, Eleanor (Miss Fitt), was great!  She’s a sixteen year old young lady living in high society, but not all is as it appears.  Her family is almost broke, and all her mother worries about is marrying of Eleanor to a rich bachelor.  I absolutely adored Eleanor.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like her all that much when the book started,  but she definitely proved herself to be a great character – smart, witty, and tenacious.  I loved the woman she became by the end of the book.  The other characters were also well written.  The Spirit Hunters: Joseph, Daniel, and especially Jie played a crucial role in not only helping fight the Dead, but also in helping Eleanor grow as a person.  I really liked how the author made it hard to flat out love or hate some of the characters.

I found the ending of this book refreshing.  I’m not going to get into specifics, but a couple of things that happened physically and emotionally to Eleanor definitely bumped the book up a little more, in my opinion.  I’m trying to think of what I didn’t like about this book, but nothing immediately comes to mind.  I will give a warning that the meat and potatoes of this book revolves around solving the mysteries regarding the necromancer and zombies.  Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of the walking dead throughout the book.

Overall, Something Strange and Deadly was a very good book, and it was actually a pretty quick read.  Do I recommend it?  You betcha!  The second book, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, will be published in 2013.  *sigh*

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17 Responses to “Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard”

  1. Caitlin

    This was also a quick read for me, I didn’t want to put it down. I love that Something Strange and Deadly started right of with a bang. Some books take time to unfold their mystery so I was very pleased that this mystery started from the first words and didn’t end til the last words. I so can’t wait til A Darkness Strange and Lovely comes out. Hopefully towards the beginning of 2013.

    • Christy

      Totally agree. I really liked how it seemed like there was always something going on – always something for the characters to try and figure out. And the fact the El wasn’t just along for the ride.

  2. Sam

    I could tell who the necromancer was from a mile off but I still really enjoyed this too! Eleanor was a great main character and I really liked Daniel too. Lovely review, Christy! :)
    Sam recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#18)My Profile

  3. Ron C. Nieto

    Zombies! Yum! (Yes, I’m aware of how freaky that statement reads, but bear with me? Pretty please?). The better part, though, is that it is a fresh, new approach. I’ve heard some good stuff about this book (and some bad, but less and mostly complaining about how the zombies aren’t traditional). I’m definitely going to read this one as soon as I can.

    Plus, the cover is gorgeous!

    Thanks for sharing, Christy!

    (PS. I’ve just realized I don’t have e-mail suscribing, too. Guess I thought no one would want to follow me when I set the blog up! *laughs* Need to change that. Still, don’t worry! I also lost sight of you for a moment when you changed your design; the RSS stopped working. The important thing is: we bot realized in time and went back to following!)
    Ron C. Nieto recently posted…Review: State of Grace, by John PhythonMy Profile

    • Christy

      Yeah, it was fairly easy to figure out who was what, but it was still good. :D

  4. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I love zombies so I have been looking forward to this! I love mysteries even when it is obvious who the the responsible party is. I’m not much of a historical reader but I think 1876 is an interesting time for the book to take place. I always cringe when the girls are supposed to be married off for money. I’m sure glad things have changes.

  5. Nick

    Amazing review, Christy! I really loved this book too, so I get a little happy whenever I see others loving it as well. :)
    I loved how you described Eleanor. I think you nailed it with those 3 adjectives. Didn’t you just love how charming Daniel was ?
    Oh and I’m so glad that you mentioned the ending! I thought it was really refreshing too. I can’t wait to see how Eleanor deals with all in the next book, but I’m pretty sure she’ll be awesome.

  6. Pabkins

    Oh I’m glad you brought this one back to my attention I had totally forgotten about it! I need to make sure I pick it up. Thanks!

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