May 11, 2013

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: July 24, 2012
Pages: 388

From the Publisher: 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.

First Thoughts: Woa! That ending of that was action packed and I still can’t believe I didn’t see that double crossing coming.

Plot, Setting, Pacing and Style:  The plot was very unique, I’m not usually a fan of zombies; they sure are scary and there’s nothing “sexy” about them, so I had put off reading this book for a while. What a mistake! These Dead were able to be manipulated by black magic, and I couldn’t get enough. Eleanor’s brother is missing, then a Dead delivers a telegram to Eleanor from him. Eleanor connects the dots and knows somehow his disappearance is related to the massive amounts of Dead that are now in Philadelphia.

The pacing was a bit slow in the beginning for me. It felt like I went in circles for a while before anything moved ahead, but maybe that was just a great way to do world building.

Loved the setting. I know it was in Philadelphia but for some reason I kept thinking London. I felt like I could envision the Exhibition Hall, the Fitts’ home (a bit run down but still trying to act wealthy), the opera, and especially the lab for the Spirit Hunters.

The style was so easy to read and flowed very smoothly, so overall it was well written.

The MCs: Eleanor was the main heroine, but I truly felt as though there were 3 other characters that were equally as important: Joseph, Daniel, and Clarence.

These 4 characters were the biggest selling points of the book for me.
• I adored Eleanor. As much as she was supposed to be prim and proper, she had spunk and no problem stating what was on her mind. Then, she was SO brave.
•  I loved Clarence, even though he had his own secrets, I still think his heart was in the right place, his situation forced him to be who he was. I wanted to get to know him (and his secrets) more.
Daniel was gruff and rough around the edges, and he too had his share of secrets. While a few of them came out I barely got to know him and need more, more more!
• Then there’s Joseph-the smooth man from Louisiana who is in charge of the Spirit Hunters. He had some serious supernatural abilities and we only got a taste of what he could do.

Romance /Chemistry: I’m also not going to lie, I had NO IDEA who the romantic interest would be. I am a spoiler phobe so, yes, he is one of these three characters but I won’t say which. The romance did show up, but if you like a book with more swoon this is not it. On the other hand, for the story’s time period the romance developed in a very appropriate way. What can I say? I just like a lot of romance! Even if the couple isn’t actually kissing, I like to feel that there is some attraction drawing them together, and this book only had small hints of it throughout. However….I think book 2 might show us a little more kissy time.

Title/Cover: The title was perfect because this story certainly was strange, and yes, quite deadly. The cover is gorgeous. Lately we see so many books with girls in gorgeous gowns on the cover, but this one actually fit the time period. It was a steampunk novel so the beautiful dress was perfect.

Twists and Turns: Holy Dead Zombies! Maybe I was slow but I honestly Did. Not. See. That. Coming. And I loved every second of it! And oh no, oh no, oh no! I was fairly upset at what happened to someone, but I can’t say for spoiler reasons. Let’s just say that I was surprised on several occasions.

Ending/Cliff hanger: I loved the ending. I will admit, I did find it easy to put the book down at first, but by the time the story really started heating up I read the rest in one sitting. While no major cliff hanger, this is by no means a stand alone novel. There are still too many unknowns and loose ends that need to be addressed. It was a great spot to take a breather though in between installments.

 Gripes/Suggestions: More romance please. I know everyone was so proper, but even some longing glances or whispers by the ear would have been delicious. However, it was a great slow burn….and even though there was some serious kissy time at one point, it wasn’t enough. Yes, I am wicked greedy.

 Final Thoughts/Rec It? Yes! While it did start a bit slow for me and I wasn’t able to recognize the romantic interest, now that the stage is set I can’t wait to read book 2, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, which comes out July 23, 2013.

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