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),
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?