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31 July 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Product Details 
Summary and image from Amazon:
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 the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

 I don't normally do "zombie books", but there was something about this that drew me in. Yes, I could totally guess some parts as soon as they were introduced, but all in all, it was a pretty good read. 

Ellie (Eleanor) started out being the simpering miss, but you could see her spark of intellect and defiance, and I loved it!  She was a young lady tied by both convention and duty, but as she delved deeper and deeper into the mystery, and became more involved with the Spirit-Hunters, she really grew and came into her own.  Her change honestly had me going, "You go girl!"

Though, I think my favorite character, and one I wish the author had developed a little more, was Jie.  I thought her fascinating.  Why did she join the boys?  Is she romantically involved with Joseph?  How old is she?  Where did she get her training?   

I also wish Joseph had been developed more.  I've erased this sentence several times because it just doesn't seem to come out right, but here goes---given the time period, I was surprised to find that Joseph was African American.  That wouldn't have changed my opinion of him (I thought he was pretty cool), but it just didn't seem to fit the time period. I know Philadelphia was more open-minded than other parts of the country, but so much time was spent talking of other character's hair or eye color when they were first introduced (or talking to Ellie, or whatever), that this wasn't mentioned until more than halfway through the book, it almost felt like an afterthought. 

Now, like I said there were parts where you could guess what was happening, but there was always one piece to the puzzle that was out of your reach, so you had to keep reading to find out.  

I think it could be classified as having some Steampunk elements (which you know I love), with Daniel's experiments and inventions.  But, I wanted more!  Automatons, hydrogen planes, girls with cool corsets, SOMETHING!

On a total side note, I did learn where the quote, "even the Devil can quote Scripture" came from.  I assumed that it was a Biblical reference.  But no!  Its from Shakespeare!  

Was it the best book I'd ever read?  No.  But it wasn't the worst.  If I had time, it would be one that I'd read again, and since its book 1 in a trilogy, I'll be looking forward to the others.

The version I read was an ARC (advanced reader's copy) thanks to Southern Book Bloggers book tour.  Something Strange and Deadly came out on 7/24. 




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