Book Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Posted July 2, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 19 Comments

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: July 24th, 2012
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: Edelweiss from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Blurb: 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.

Review: I absolutely loved Something Strange and Deadly and you should read it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was close. And it was a whole LOT of fun. The story was brilliant, original, and so richly imagined that I spent a good portion of my reading time flabbergasted that someone actually THOUGHT this up in their head. I would do just about ANYTHING to be this creative and have a mind this imaginative. I give the author so much credit for that. Her brain is spectacular. 

I had a few technical issues, but not many. I thought the book started off with a bang. Eleanor is trapped in a train station (I think it was a train station) and a zombie shows up with a letter from her brother. The way the scene was described gave me the shivers. I was pretty creeped out. The sensory language had my skin crawling and I loved it. 

But after that…it was slow for a bit. Not a whole lot happened. Until it picked up again right around page 116. That’s where it happened for me–where I became hooked and had to keep reading. Now normally I would put the book down and read something else if it took that long to interest me. But…and here’s the big but–I LOVED the writing. I thought the style and tone were appropriate for the time period the story was written in. I loved the dialogue and the fashions and the setting–I loved it all and even though I wasn’t completely hooked, I kept reading until I was.

And then magic happened. And I became immersed in this world and its characters. This book was so OUT THERE, nothing like this would ever happen in real life, and yet…I felt like it could. I felt like everything was real and I wanted to be a part of the world that this book was set in. I wanted to KNOW these people. Be their friends. Kill zombies with them. Walk the exhibits at the exposition with them. I was in love. I’m STILL in love. I want the next book NOW.

The ending was so frustrating. Part of the reason this book was so special for me was the banter between Eleanor and Daniel. They were fantastic characters. I thought maybe they could have been developed a tiny bit better, but I still loved them. But the cliffhanger. My god the cliffhanger left me SO empty. I don’t want to spoil anything, you just have to read it. It isn’t that none of the story was wrapped up and concluded; it was, it just wasn’t all resolved. And the ends the author left loose just KILLED me. I wanted to start drinking, it was that bad. So keep that in mind. 

Just read it. I WILL say that if you liked Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, you will probably love this book. And if you DIDN’T love Dearly, Departed, there’s still a chance you might love this book. The styling and atmosphere between the two books is a little similar. And as a huge fan of the aforementioned book, I adored this one. I can’t wait for A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Favorite Scene:
“So how did you meet Joseph?” I asked, hoping to change the subject.
“We were all three at the same saloon.”
My eyelids shot up. “A saloon?”
She chuckled and waved in Daniel’s direction. “He got cheated at cards, yeah? And a fight broke out. Joseph saw the whole thing, and when the police came, he vouched for Daniel.”
I rolled my eyes, amused. The story definitely fit with what I knew of Daniel–and I almost wished I could have seen it.
“And you?” I prodded. “What were you doing there?”
She grinned wickedly. “I was the one who cheated Daniel.”

To pre-order Something Strange and Deadly from, click here:Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly – Trilogy).

19 responses to “Book Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

  1. Oh wow! I wasn’t expecting that. I’ve seen a lot of people disappointed with this one, largely because the zombies were super minor and at the end or something.

    This is at the VERY TOP of my pile, so yay!

  2. I really liked Dearly Departed so I hope I like this one too. Not thrilled to hear about the cliffhanger though; that is why I read a lot of contemporary-no cliffhangers there!

  3. Amy

    Ohh I am so excited for this one!! I was already really looking forward to it, but your review has made me really excited! I won a pre-order of this one and can’t wait until I get it. I loved Dearly, Departed so I will most likely love this one. Thanks for the fab review!!

  4. This sounds so good, I love how you described the authors creativity, I think that I wish I could come up with some of the worlds I read sometimes too. This is one that I have had my eye on for a while (Dearly, Departed too, though I found out yesterday from Giselle that there is a zombie boyfriend in that one… that scares me)can’t wait to get it now! Great review, Kara!

    • Yes, there is a zombie boyfriend. BUT…I love Braham, so just read it and see what you think. It’s a little weird at first but I really ended up liking it. It’s totally not what you think.

      As for this book, I did think is was SO creative and original. The setting is fantastic. I envy this author’s brain.

    • I’ve been really curious about this one, and your review just sealed the deal for me, Kara. I am NOT big on zombie books, but it sounds like Something Strange & Deadly stands out from among the rest.

      Thanks for the review and for sharing your thoughts 🙂 <3

  5. Eep I loved the banter too it was my fav part! While I didn’t love this one it was only bc it was way different from what I expected (a true zombie book) but for a steam punk it was really good and fun! Great review muffin!

  6. Oooh, I did like Dearly, Departed! Steampunk rocks my socks. I’ve seen some meh reviews of this, so I’m super glad to see I might think it’s awesome!

    • Dude! I really liked this. I didn’t have any big issues with it. Still got a 4, just because it didn’t have that magic spice of obsession. Definitely awesome though.

      I wasn’t bored at all, because I LOVED Eleanor. She is hilarious, and great.

      OMG THE ENDING. Can we discuss this? Please?

  7. Yay! I’m so glad you liked this one!(: I’ve been seeing some great reviews of it so I’m really looking forward to its release. I love books you can get immersed in and with zombies, darkness, and great characters, I’m sure this will be something I love! 😀

    I’ve been perusing your blog for about an hour now Kara and I love it! I adore your reviews and we have really similar book tastes, so I’m now following you!(:

    Ivy Book Bindings

    • I went ahead and subscribed to your blog too! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m glad we have so much in common. I hope you really enjoy this one when you read it. 🙂

  8. Rebecca Hipworth

    I know a lot of people were disappointed by this book, nevertheless I think I shall give it a go. 🙂

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