Something Strange and Deadly

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Genre: YA Fantasy, Victorian Fiction, Zombies
Format: Hardcover, 388 pages
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen, HarperCollins Canada
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis
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
Zombie novels are part of a genre that has a fine line between realistic and "out there" and Something Strange and Deadly has a very realistic element within its pages, and that element is the Necromancer. I have always loved the idea of the Necromancer in novels because they add a different aspect to the overall problem. Not only do you have to fight the living dead, but you also have to fight against their creator, who is always, more times than not, more powerful than human.

What separated this novel from other zombie novels was the setting. Being in Philadelphia in the Victorian era was amazing, it was the perfect backdrop for this story because of the limits of technology and the pressures of society that hang over each character. Also, Susan Dennard does a great job creating a world full of mystery and suspense that carried the reader from the first page to the last.

Eleanor was a great main protagonist. She was full of angst, love and a little bit of rebellion. Her questioning of society, and her desire to find her beloved brother propels this unlikely heroine into a world of the living dead and allows her to meet people that will change the way she views the world.

I loved everything about this book, the idea of the Necromancer was ingenious and I loved how his revelation at the end came about. I will admit that I figured out who the Necromancer was before the reveal, but it did not take away from the story at all. There were still many surprises that caught me off guard, especially in the last three chapters.

The one thing I would probably alter would be the inclusion of the secondary characters. I felt that some of them were used merely as devices to push the story forward and didn't really add anything to the main story line. For example, many of the secondary characters, especially the girls, were there as comparisons to Eleano'rs character, and I wish some of them had had a bigger role because they were quite interesting characters in themselves.

Overall this book was extremely entertaining and delivers a gruesome yet believable take on the zombie genre, and will satisfy any persons need to romance as well. A very well developed novel and very well written. Something Strange and Deadly is worth a read..or two :)

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  2. Thanks for the review. I like this genre in books. Looking forward to get myself a copy.

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