Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1) Goodreads Book 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.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review: This book has been very hyped so I knew I had to eventually read it.

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard stars Eleanor, a once higher class girl, who has fallen in society's ranks because of the ravings of her now dead father. Not only that her brother Eli has gone missing and the Dead are rising from a nearby graveyard. Eleanor meets some unexpected friends who have spent their time trying to put the Dead back to rest and saving others from being attacked. There may be a love interest or two. But who can Eleanor trust?

There's actually a lot to like about this book, especially in the last third of the book. There are some great reveals and plot twists that keep things going.

My biggest issue is how the world building starts. In the first few pages of the book, we are in Eleanor's head as she tries to get in the mail room to see if there was a telegraph from her missing brother. We get kind of a sense that it's older times, but we don't get a year reference until later on. I also got the sense that we were in the South, but instead we were in Philadelphia. Again, not mentioned until halfway through the book. I found myself floundering to get oriented. (Note: The fact that the year and location of the book are stated in the back cover doesn't make it okay to not put it in the actual book) Also, I couldn't get myself to like the main character. She whines and acts all prissy, and it takes her over half the book to get over herself. Lastly, I thought the "Dead" were zombies, but they didn't act like zombies and I guess aren't really zombies, so that also took some time to get worked out.

Overall, the last half is much stronger than the first half, but I haven't decided if I'm going to pick up the next entry. Dennard definitely has some good ideas though, so I just may.

What did you guys think about this book? 


  1. I think they are zombies though-they're just reanimated through a necromancer instead of a virus as is sometimes the case? I don't read a lot of zombie books so I'm not entirely sure what qualifies as one.

    I was excited to read this after seeing that the blurb mentioned a Philadelphia setting-I was so focused on that, I didn't realize they didn't mention it in the book itself. That's a big oversight!

  2. I liked it, but I agree with you. I think the world building got better in the second half. I also figured out the mystery early on and would've liked a little more of a twist.

  3. I also gave it 3/5 stars.. It just didn't have that WOW factor I was hoping for. I was okay with the world building and the characters, but you're right.. I didn't even realize that Dennard didn't mention it in the story ~ not cool, especially for those who forgo reading the synopsis.. It was the writing style that kinda took away from the novel for me.. Great, honest review!

    My review

    Happy Reading :)

  4. I have not read the book and then I can not give a well formed opinion about it. What I read about him, posted by Cristina, left me very curious and there's only one way to settle this: Read the book.