Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

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.

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Susan Dennard’s Something Strange and Deadly has catapulted itself onto my 2012 list of favorites. With a hint of romance, creepy zombies, voodoo, steampunk inventions, and unique, memorable characters, how could you not fall in love with this book?

One of the most defining aspects of Something Strange and Deadly was the main characters. Eleanor herself is full of spunk and sass, but then we add the three spirit-hunters to the mix and things really start getting interesting. They introduce Eleanor to whole world she wasn’t aware existed and it’s obvious that she’ll never be the same again. 

The setting, 1876 Philadelphia, was perfect. Eleanor’s adventures occur during the Centennial Exhibition – an exciting time in it’s own right, but downright craziness with zombies flash mobbing the exhibits unexpectedly. I never felt that there was a dull moment in this book… Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters were either fighting off zombies or trying to figure out why the zombies were attacking in the first place. There wasn’t much time to take tea and relax, they had a city to save.

There is a touch of romance within Something Strange and Deadly‘s pages as well. It definitely isn’t the focal point, but I found myself focusing on it… Daniel and Eleanor are both incredibly stubborn and come from entirely different worlds, so there conversation is never boring and always entertaining. I look forward to seeing if Dennard develops there relationship into something more than friends with possibility of more… I’d be interested in seeing how they handle the more.

This first installment ended on an interesting note, so I’m a bit anxious to get my hands on book two. Eleanor quickly became one of my favorite heroines and I will faithfully follow her into her next adventure… and I wouldn’t mind seeing all the Spirit-Hunters again either!

HarperTeen, July 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780062083265, 388 pages.


Check out the book trailer for Something Strange and Deadly below:

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