Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard | BOOK REVIEW

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Publisher/Year: July 24th 2012 HarperTeen
Genre: Zombienormal+ Steampunk
Series: Yes, this is Book 1
Other Books From Author: A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Book 2), 

Amazon | Goodreads | @stdennard |

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.

Where did this cover go wrong? Oops, I mean, where did it go RIGHT?!!! And where are her HANDS!!!! And is that dress even period appropriate for the 1870’s? The eyeliner certainly isn’t. I DO have to give the designer props for the machinery pieces in the background. They tie in to the story nicely. The colour combi + THAT font… Can we say pweeeeety?

On a more serious note, I wanted to like Something Strange and Deadly, and I (kind of) did. But I set out to completely fall head over heels for it like my friends, and then meh. There wasn’t much spark at all, be it in terms of world building, characters, plot, or romance, this book was just okayyyyyy.

OKAY SO let’s do some actual talking about the story. I think my BIGGEST ISSUE here is how simple the mystery was. I had expected the “WHO’S THE NECROMANCER?!” part to be the focus of this book. But by 1/3 of the book, I had most of it solved and the ending was too obvious. It was quite a letdown to realize my suspicions from the very beginning were confirmed. Despite the merits of this book, all I felt was “ugh, blah, meh”. I had purposefully considered all possibilities because everyone LUUUUUURVED this, and everything was building up to the HOLY SHIT. *MINDBLOWN* moment!!!!!

Didn’t happen. =(

The world was poorly constructed and even till now, I have zero inkling of how the place looks like. And the romance was quite… iffy… like neither here nor there… I don’t even know if I should be expecting a swoony love story from this. [According to the chunks of CAPLOCKS on other reviews, yes]. It was mostly CHEESY and CLICHÉD and UGHHHHH I FEEL GOOSEBUMPS.

Eleanor Fitt is probably the one anchor that saved this sinking ship. She was fun and willful and brave and kick-ass. She also makes a perfect balance between what you would expect of well-bred lady of her times, and a strong-willed, intelligent woman eager to prove herself. Overall, I enjoyed this book on a very very very basic level. Really expected it to be a lot more. Maybe I’ll read the next book, maybe I won’t.

I know many people who have read and loved this. I’m the black sheep this time, but I’d love to hear what you think about it! Would you recommend reading the sequel?


16 thoughts on “Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard | BOOK REVIEW

  1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you wanted to, Alicia :( I’ve honestly not read this one, but I have an ARC for Strange And Ever After, so I was going to pick it up, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I think it would be best that I go into this with lower expectations yeah? ;) And don’t worry about being the black sheep, it’s totally fine! :D makes it better because now I have a range of expectations to look too! :3
    Fantastic review, Alicia!! <33

    • Sel STRONGLY STRONGLY recommended this book to me last year so my expecations went sky high with all her excited blabberings xD I guess the key thing would be to lower your expectations for this one, otherwise it’s an enjoyable steampunk! Something out of my league and I still liked it kind of =) Thanks for visiting, Emily!!

  2. It’s funny about the no hands because I was just looking at a book cover the other day where the girl had NO ARMS! I was like how did nobody notice how weird this is, LoL. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one much. It always stinks when everyone is raving about a book and then it’s only blah =P


      *shields eyes*

      This one isn’t that bad actually, I was probably in a grouchy mood when I wrote this review and decided to nick-pick! Being the black sheep doesn’t feel great, but that’s my honest opinion, and I certainly hope you’d have better luck at this book than I did =)

  3. I actually have this one and tried reading it a while back but then put it off. It started off really slow for me. :( I’m definitely not into cheesy and cliche romances! And poor world building is not my thing. I’ll be more wary when I try this again, Alicia. Wonderful review!

    • I didn’t hit off great with this book either… I think I kept reading on simply because there HAS TO be something ama-zing about this book that made so many of my friends rave. Looks like I’m the odd one out though! Hopefully you’ll have much better luck at this!

  4. I was disappointed by this too :( I definitely figured out who the necromancer too early on and I was only there for Daniel and Jie. I didn’t really like Eleanor either. I was going to read the sequel but when I found out Daniel and Jie weren’t going to be heavily in it, I decided it wasn’t worth my time. But I hope you enjoy it if you get to it :)

    • JIE IS SO COOL I’d love to hear that girl’s story =) I’m not so sure if I’ll pick up the next book, maybe I’ll test the waters and let you guys know how it goes!

  5. I liked this one quite a lot cause of Eleanor and I really liked her banter and come and forth with Daniel!
    The mystery was not such for me either, but I enjoyed the twists in the world and the steampunk feel to it that we got from the Spirit Hunters.

    • Eleanor kept me interested enough to keep reading, but not enough to save my feelings for this book. I’m so sorry but even the steampunk and zombie elements felt quite blah for me!

  6. Didn’t notice the machinery bits in the background – too focused on her missing hands :/

    Does that mean you’d classify this as steampunk? Cause that’s kind of cool.

    It sucks when the mystery is predictable, especially if you were expecting to be surprised. Even if everything else was great, that can dock a star or two from my rating.

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