July 19, 2012

Early Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Series: Something Strange & Deadly 1
Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Excerpt here
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

(Formerly titled The Spirit-Hunters)

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
SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard was a fun occult read with necromancers and zombies running amok and terrorizing the otherwise peaceful state of Philadelphia. SDennard's debut novel is a macabre story of revenge, bullying, betrayal, resentment and a string of skewed righteousness that resulted to tragedy an unnecessary deaths. Here is the tale of Eleanor Fitt and how this crazy and exciting series of events greatly affected her life, changing its course permanently. 
The Dead hunt endlessly until they're laid to rest or their bodies are destroyed.
It's not hard not to like sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt, she doesn't have stars in her eyes, loyal to her family, honest about her feelings and above all she doesn't have illusions of being someone she's not. Eleanor's family lost their fortune when her father's business was sabotaged causing his health to deteriorate leading up to his death. But even if she knows she needs to marry well to maintain or reclaim the lifestyle she was once accustomed to, she didn't throw herself at anybody, there's courtship and tension between her and two of the characters but I wouldn't call it a love triangle. In fact, looking at the totality of the tale, being in a romantic relationship was the farthest thing from Eleanor's mind and even if she did find herself infatuated with someone, it was more of a pleasant accident than intentional. So NO annoying, bumbling heroine here which perfectly worked for me. 

The Spirit-Hunters, Joseph-Alexander Boyer and Daniel Sheridan to me are like a ghostbusterized versions of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. They are an unusual and interesting pair, Joseph is a Creole and very polished while Daniel is crass, socially awkward but a genius in gadgets. SDennard added intrigue to the story by planting seeds of doubt on these two's hero status which worked well in keeping the tale upbeat and engrossing. As for the rest of the characters, they were a little flat and didn't really offer much to the totality of the story, they're more like fancy decorations to an already furnished room.
"The fault is not in our stars," I whispered to the ceiling. "But in ourselves. This was my choice."
SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was a little predictable, 30% into the story I already have a whodunit theory figured out, still I found it an enjoyable read. However I didn't find this as strictly Steampunk rather it's more of a suped up historical fiction to me as you won't find airships, automatons or any special gadgetry that one usually finds in other Steampunk reads. And even if Daniel was into gadgetry, it didn't feel like something that was totally out of place for that time.But Steampunk or not, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is still a wonderful story, I am not into zombies but I had fun reading this.


  1. I felt exactly the same about this one - fun, but not mind-blowing. And it's pretty light on the zombies ;-)

    1. Which worked for me because I really don't like to read about zombies but I was expecting hardcore steampunk coz of the previous reviews.

  2. I love this cover and was considering requesting it but something just kept holding me back. I am kinda glad I didn't now. I just have way too many books and am looking for more of the OMG I loved it books. lol

  3. See Braine, I loved your review!! But I don't love the 3 cauldrons!;) Also the fact that you had the story figured out 30% into kinda screams really real YA......sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you had initially planned.

    1. LOL well thank you!

      I.saw some reviews and they were all saying STEAMPUNK so I was expexting high velocity punkishness but it was so understated I hardly felt the steam.

  4. Ah, this one's next for me. I'm looking forward to it's release. Sorry you didn't enjoy the book as much Braine ;( I have high hopes for it, better tone it down just in case xD Lol Great review.

    1. Hey go ahead and read it. I was looking for hardcore steampunk with all the devices and high level action. I got the action but maybeits predictability was the one that dampened it for me.

    2. Totally sucks >.< Lol but I'll definitely pick this up! :P Thanks Braine :)

  5. Yep, so very predictable. I liked the book for it's different characters and that's probably the only thing that pulled it through for me!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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