January 9, 2014

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard: Book Review

SS D Genre: YA Horror, Steampunk, Historical Fiction
Release Date: July 24th 2012
Series: Something Strange & Deadly #1
Source: Library

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. (via goodreads)

My Thoughts: Something Strange & Deadly has been on my to-read list for a while. Everyone seems to be a huge fan and I can see why. Something Strange & Deadly is an interesting book full of historical fiction and zombies (I know, right?!) but it didn’t live up to the full hype.

Don’t get me wrong, I still really enjoyed Something Strange & Deadly, I just didn’t fall in love with it. The plot flows nicely but it was slow and predictable. I guessed the big twist KILOMETRES away and it was just annoying seeing Eleanor (the protagonist) not realize it sooner. Despite the slowness, I still like the chronology of events and how everything played out. For the start of a series, it was well done. Furthermore, I really liked seeing how the historical elements of the book worked with the paranormal (zombie) elements of the novel. It was very interesting and entertaining to read.

The characters in Something Strange & Deadly were fairly predictable suited to the time period & type of novel so there was no surprises. Eleanor is a female and being pressured to marry some rich guy that her mom thinks is perfect; the typical teenage life in the 1870s. But after meeting the other characters, she starts growing out of her shell and wanting to be more independent. In my opinion, Eleanor fits every YA female archetype and it is sometimes annoying. Daniel, our love interest, is more complex and their relationship starts off as a love/hate one but with time, we all assume what happens, correct? Besides the main characters, the side characters are interesting yet fit fairly well into their archetypes. The characters aren’t as awful as I might make them seem and near the end of the book, they become less predictable and redeemable.

Despite the predictableness of some of the plot and the main characters, Something Strange & Deadly is still an entertaining read that mixes interesting historical fiction and awesome paranormal elements. It was a good start for a series and I will be reading the sequel soon. I recommend this one if you are looking to start a series that combines two beloved genres (historical & paranormal).

three stars

Have you read Something Strange & Deadly? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it yet, are you planning to? Let me know!

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