Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on July 26, 2012 | 1 Comment

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan DennardSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen (7.24.2012)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 400 pages
Source: For Tour

3 Stars

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 thoughts

I had some trouble getting into this one. To be honest, I wanted to put it down in the first half. I’m glad I didn’t, because the last quarter was pretty good! I think I was bored early on because there wasn’t much happening action-wise. This is only the second true zombie book I’ve read, and I was expecting an overload of flesh-eating zombies. But, they hardly had an appearance except for the very beginning and very end, which disappointed me a lot.

Eleanor was a pretty good lead. She had her moments where she was a bit naive, even petulant sometimes, but she fit the bill for a typical 16-year-old.  She didn’t overly annoy me, and she didn’t easily give up. She fought for what she believed in, which I liked. All of the characters were fairly well written with their own individual personalities. A major bonus for me? The romance wasn’t front and center and developed slowly.

I was a little confused with the world building. I didn’t really understand how the machines and electricity worked, or exactly what spiritual energy entailed. I would have like much more of an explanations for all of that. Also, I wish it had delved deeper into Eleanor’s ‘ability’ – I’m not exactly sure what that was – with a bit more depth than just the sensations she was feeling.

What turned the book around so much for me at the end (other than the fact that all the action was packed into the last quarter) was the element of surprise. While I figured out who the necromancer was fairly quickly, there were a few things that happened that I never saw coming. And I was just like, “WHAT!! Did that really just happen?!” I value a book that can shock me, and this one sure did in the end!
Who was good? Who was bad? And if there was no one I could trust, did that mean I was all alone?
Plot: 3/5
Writing style: 3/5
A bit dry.
Characters: 3/5
World-building: 2.5/5
Pace: 2/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 3/5 starfish
Jessi (Geo)

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One response to “Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

  1. I felt exactly the same about this one – not enough zombie and it was quite slow for the first half or so. But I liked Eleanor and the author’s writing style.

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