Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

14 July, 2012 Reviews 15 comments

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan DennardSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen on July 24th 2012
Pages: 388
Genres: Horror, Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

There's something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia...

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family as fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walkers 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. An now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Something Strange and deadly had a really rough start with me.  There is a divide between the writing of the first chapter and the rest of the novel.  The first chapter gave me the false impression that this book was flimsy, badly written and suffering from stagnant characters and plot.

However, this quickly faded away as Dennard hit her stride – introducing fresh, interesting characters, and intriguing plotline.

Dennard creates an interesting and fresh mythology in Something Strange and Deadly that mixes aspects of Steampunk with good ol’ zombie fun.  In Elanore we find a fun, willful protagonist – driving the story forward and fleshing it out with wit, humour and a charm.  She also makes a perfect balance between what you would expect of well-bred lady of her times, and a strong-willed, intelligent woman eager to prove herself.  She certainly makes excellent use of her parasol at certain points in the novel in a way that would make womankind proud.  However, I’m convinced that the parasol was its own character in this novel.  Parasols make everything better.  Parasols are awesome, but I digress…

Image from Gr8rthangatsby


Daniel, Jie and Joseph are the icing to a very fun cake.  Particularly Daniel, with his abrasive, working class attitude and grouchy personality, which played nicely against Joseph’s gentlemanly persuasions and Jie’s serious case of kickass.  Like, she just really kicked everyone’s butt in this novel at least three times and never once complained.

I’m one of those people who like steampunk things with monsters.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sounds like a terrible, stupid movie that is perfect for me.

What was extremely refreshing was that whilst there was some romantic involvement, it clearly took a back seat to the more pressing issue of masses of walking undead trying to make mince meat out of your internal organs.   Plus there was mystery and intrigue and more mystery and action and butt kicking interspersed evenly and generously throughout the novel.

My only real complaint – putting the first chapter aside – was one minor issue and that relates to the simpleness of the mystery.

The ending was simply too obvious and came as something of a letdown to realize my suspicions from the very beginning were confirmed.

When you resemble an owl and make this face, you know the mystery has been too easy.

Overall, this was a great read and I strongly anticipate the next one!

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

15 Responses to “Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard”

  1. Kara @ Great Imaginations

    “What was extremely refresh­ing was that whilst there was some roman­tic involve­ment, it clearly took a back seat to the more press­ing issue of masses of walk­ing undead try­ing to make mince meat out of your inter­nal organs.”

    Yes, THIS. I completely agree with this. It was an even balance. It wasn’t ALL ABOUT the romance which are the books I tend to generally dislike. I just thought it was a really kick-ass story.

    Also, completely agree with you when you say the ending was predictable. I did see it coming from a mile away. I think anyone with half a brain could see it coming from a mile away. But even with all that, I still just really, REALLY, loved the story. And the characters. The characters were amazing.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Book Review of Wake by Amanda HockingMy Profile

  2. Shelagh

    I’ve been hearing good things about Something Strange and Deadly and the fact that you enjoyed it Kat puts it straight onto my wishlist.

    Steampunk + zombies = yes please!
    Shelagh recently posted…Follow Friday #38My Profile

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