Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
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.
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