24 July 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard

Published: 24 July 2012 by HarperTeen

Pages: 400 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Paranormal, Steampunk

Source: Publisher for review via Edelweiss

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads)

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'm going to start this review with a disclaimer. From the synopsis of this book I had a very different expectation than was the reality. This is not really a book about zombies at all, but more of a steampunk mystery that includes spirit-hunters and necromancers.

Because of that expectation, I didn't really start to enjoy this book until somewhere around the 200 page mark - I found the first half, although it starts with an actioned-packed scene, wasn't really going anywhere. The main character, Eleanor, spent a lot of time investigating and trying to find out where her brother was, whilst trying to avoid the slightly (ok, more than slightly) annoying Clarence.

Eleanor herself was a good main character with a balance of bravery and smart-arsedness, but not of the arrogant kind - more of a slightly rebellious teenager who still wants to do the right and proper thing as much as possible and as the book progressed I liked her more and more. I enjoyed the blossoming romance between Eleanor and Daniel, and he was probably my favorite character of the whole book.

The writing is fairly straightforward, if a little heavy on the exclamation points, and the formality of the dialogue was realistic to the timeframe, if some of the relationships (such as that between Clarence and Eleanor) progressed much faster than would have been normal, or socially acceptable in the 1870s.

In the end, I did enjoy Something Strange and Deadly, and probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't started out with different expectations. If you enjoy reading historical mysteries with a bit of steampunk and romance thrown in for good measure, I'm sure you would enjoy this one.


  1. Honestly I don't like steampunk too much, but I like zombie stories, so I'm a little confused whether to read this book or not...
    Maybe sometime later.
    Thanks for the review! :)

    Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer

    1. It's not overly steampunky, just enough to be fun. There are zombies, just not the brain munching hoardes I was hoping for!

  2. Hmmm... Im not much for steampunk at all.
    I DO love zombies, and have this on my TBR list because of that, so Im a little dissapointed to learn that it isnt even about zombies!

    Great review

    1. There are zombies, but they aren't the hardcore type that I love. It is a fun read though.

  3. Awww, I really liked this one. There were plenty enough zombies for me, but it's not about them perse, that's true. Too bad you didn't see Giselle's review a few weeks ago: she also bemoaned the lack of zombie mayhem.

    I really loved Eleanor and her spunk.

    Ah well, I adore steampunk, and I actually liked her writing. It was a style compatible with how I think and type. I definitely overuse exclamation points on Twitter. I didn't notice that at all. Wah wah.

    1. Us zombie fanatics are SO fussy ;) - I did see Giselle's review the other day, what she said!

      I thought Eleanor was a good character, and although a bit ! the writing style is so easy to read. And exclamation points on Twitter are totally normal ;-)

  4. Hmm since our tastes are pretty similar I think I'll have to read this one and keep an open mind, I've heard some really good things about it but if you thought it was an in between book I probably will to. But you gave a great review anyways :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

    1. I do think you would like it Kimberly - just don't expect loads of zombie action :)

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