Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1)

  Title: Something Strange and Deadly
  Author: Susan Dennard
  Publisher: Harper Teen
  Publication date: July 24th 2012
  Source: Edelweiss
  My rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Description: 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.
Sixteen year-old Eleanor Fitt lives in a time of corsets and petticoats.  A time where a lady's behavior is governed by strict rules of decorum.  A time when Eleanor's mother is dead set on her finding and marrying a rich man to rescue their family from impeding financial ruin.  But this is also a time of the Dead.  The Dead are reanimated corpses plaguing the city, and Eleanor is afraid her brother, Elijah, has been captured by the one commanding them, the necromancer.  The day Elijah is supposed to return home to Eleanor and her mother, a letter is delivered to her by one the Dead.  Elijah explains that as long as he helps a mysterious "him," he should be able to come home.  This is very little to go on so Eleanor seeks the help of the Spirit-Hunters.   They're group hired by the city to control and get rid of the corpses that walk and terrorize the living.  Soon Eleanor is tied up with this small band, looking for and stopping the necromancer, the one she fears is holding her brother.   Instead of putting all her efforts into securing the most eligible bachelor, Clarence Wilcox, she's running all over the city uncovering clues and helping devise plots to destroy the necromancer.  Whether she's interested or not, however, Clarence seems to be connected to recent murders, and Eleanor has no choice but to get close to him, to find out what secrets he hides.    

This story was full of sass, action and gore.  Sass on the part of spunky heroine Eleanor and Daniel, one of the brilliant but flippant Spirit-Hunters.  Their interactions reminded me of Han Solo and Princess Leia, especially when Daniel would call Eleanor "Empress."  I cracked up at this:

*He wagged a warning finger. "Don't think I'll look after you, though--the world would be better off with one less princess."  "I'm not a princess," I huffed, beating my brain for some worthy retort. 
"A queen then?"
"No! That's not what I meant--"
"Oh, an empress.  I see. Pardon me, Your Majesty."  He swooped into a crouched bow, and when his torso sprang back up, a smile floated at the edge of his lips.

I liked Eleanor's pluck and courage, and connected with her character right away. However, I had a hard time feeling Eleanor's distress at her missing brother, Elijah.  Their relationship is touched on so briefly and superficially, that I had a hard time caring that he was missing or in danger.  While I had fun overall reading this, I must say that this story sort of dragged for me until I reached the half-way point. It wasn't until then, that the story exploded into non-stop action, and my heart was pounding as I read the pages.   Also, at this point the romance finally started to come together, and turned out to be very sweet. However, the ending sort of made my mouth drop, and I hope we have some further development in this area in the next book.   So while it took a bit to really get going, I thought it was very promising start to this series.  I'll definitely pick up the sequel. 

*Quote taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from the final copy.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Teen for allowing me to read this. 


  1. Aren't you lucky, I got rejected for this about a thousand times. haha.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it, and I may have to pick a copy up when it comes out.

    I tend to stick with reading all my books, so hopefully if it picks up near the end, that will allow me to enjoy it more! :)

  2. Yay ! I'm so glad you loved this, Rachel. :) I love that quote you added in your review. It makes me want to read the book all over again. I agree that Daniel and Eleanor were full of spunk.
    I didn't think much of Eleanor's relationship with her brother either. The ending definitely came as a shocker to me as well. Lovely review as usual, Rachel. :)

  3. Thanks for your honest review! This is actually the next book on my tbr-pile, so reading your review makes me really looking forward to it. And by now I'm already expecting Steampunk novels to have a slower first half - I always end up picking those. :D

    Fictional Distraction

  4. Great review, Rachel! I gave this book the same rating so it's good to see we agree. ;) I think Eleanor and Daniel's interactions were one of my favourite things about this book. I'm glad there was no insta-love! Hopefully we will see more of the sweet scenes between them in the next book. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  5. This sounds very...Dearly Beloved-like isn't it? I'm glad you liked it despite some minor grievances, Rachel. Thanks for the insight!

  6. Sass, action, gore, and zombies sounds just about right to me! x) LOL I'm starting to develop a weakness for zombies in my huge list of weaknesses for books, and I'm sure this is going to be one of the cool ones! Just from the little teaser you shared, I know I'm going to have fun with the wit in this book. I LOVE it when there's great banter and interactions between love interests! :)

    Amazing review, Empress Rachel! x) <3

  7. I'm looking forward to reading this book SO much and the reviews I'm seeing for it are not fantastic :( I still can't wait though lol. Great review Rachel :)

  8. Ohmigod! If there's one thing I loved, absolutely loved about this book, it's Daniel the rascal, and from your review, I see that you felt the same way. He was just so adorably cocky and borderline rude, but also funny and caring and so smart! I think I might read book two just to see what happens to him.
    Wonderful review, Rachel!

  9. I'm really excited about this book Rachel and I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it! :D I'm finding that a lot of books these days tend to drag a little bit and I think it's because authors are trying to put in some more world-building. I'm really happy to see that that didn't put you off though and you wound up really enjoying this novel anyway!(: Wonderful review Rachel! ;)

  10. I think I know exactly what you're talking about at the end of this one Rachel! Daniel's answer to Eleanor's question in those last few pages made my heart ache a little bit, BUT I have high hopes we'll get to see some more of that romance in the next book. Win:) While I think I liked this one quite a bit more than you, I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part!

    1. You are dead on, Jenny! I was surprised by his answer!

  11. Hi Rachel! I have this coming up on my blog at the end of the month. I am exctied that is is something a bit different, historical zombies with steampunk sounds so fun. I will definitely be back to compare notes and I will see how I feel about pacing, the romance and the ending. Thanks for the heads up!

  12. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one, Rachel! I'm still on the fence about whether I should pick this one up, but now I think I'll have to definitely read this one. Eleanor definitely seems like a character I would love- strong with a bit of snark. ;) I loved that quote that you gave us, it looks like the romance is definitely going to be sweet in this one! Even though the story dragged for you, I think I'll have to check this one out.

    Thanks for the fabulous review, Rachel! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  13. I'm not sure about this cover... I adore the bottom half, but I can't seem to make my mind up on the top half... Do I love it or not?!

    Full of sass? Spunky heroine? Connected with the characters? GIVE ME THIS BOOK! Apart from the slow beginning, this sounds awesome! Thanks for puting yet ANOTHER book on my Wishlist, Rachel. :P

  14. This book sounds like the perfect mix of thrilling action, gorey zombies and a strong, kick-butt heroine! In spite of some your qualms, I'm delighted you enjoyed this, Rachel! Brilliant review. :)

  15. Not a huge fan of zombies, but you make this sound so interesting! Great review Rachel!

  16. I love books with zombies in them and am really excited for this one! Such an interesting mash-up of genres, and that quote made me smile. Have heard mixed reviews but I'm glad you find it a promising start! Will definitely give it a chance despite its issues. Thanks for the great and fair review!

  17. I really really want to read this book! After reading Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, I fell in love with books about zombies and steampunk and Something Strange and Deadly sounds perfect! I've watched the trailer recently as well and it looks AMAZING!

    Awesome review, Rachel! ♥ Can't wait to get a copy of this book!

  18. I haven't read too many reviews of this and previously thought it might not be for me but I quite like the sound of Eleanor, and the combination of the Dead + the book being set in the 1800s is interesting too! Great review, Rach!

  19. This sounds wonderfully creepy, Rachel! Thanks for your honest review! Books that drag on for a while and then pick up pace are totally worth it when the second half turns out to be mind blowing!! I love the sound of the setting Eleanor sounds wonderful. Amazing review :)

  20. Lovely review, Rachel! You make me want to read this book right now! Sass, spunk and gore?? Sign me up, please!! :) And I've always had a kind of soft spot for Zombies, so I should love this book! And the language and dialogue seems really witty and cool, from the quote. Eleanor seems like a great MC!! And Daniel seems preeeetty great too... ;) Lovely review, Rachel!!

  21. Haha, I love the quote! <3 Sounds like a great main character and I like that in a book: it's actually one of the things a book must have ^^ Oh, there are so many raving reviews, I must have this one!


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