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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Author: Susan Dennard
Published Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Advance Reader’s Edition
Pages: 388
ISBN: 0062083260
ISBN13: 8780062083265
Copy provided by: Epic Reads
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon ; Kindle


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 Rating: 3 of 5 Stars


Something Strange and Deadly is the first book I have read that fits into the steampunk genre.  In case you have not heard of steampunk, basically it is a story that is set in a time when steam power was still widely used such as the early nineteenth century or Victorian era.  Also the story has elements of science fiction/fantasy with the possibility of technological developments/inventions or the story may contain an alternate history of technology.  For my first steampunk read, I was not completely disappointed but I did have some issues with the story.

The story revolves around a young woman named Eleanor who lives in an earlier version of Philadelphia.  In her world, there are alarms for the people when the dead are close.  And by dead, I mean walking dead.  Petticoats and zombies.  Sounds interesting right?  For the most part, it was interesting but if you go into the story thinking the dead will be prominent throughout the story, then you will be disappointed.  The majority of the story is the main character trying to solve the mystery of her missing brother who she believes has been captured by whoever is controlling the dead.  In an attempt to seek help finding her brother, she seeks the help of a group known as the Spirit-Hunters.  This is where is she meets the character Daniel whom she begins having feelings for.  On top of the dead walking, there also seems to be an evil spirit following close by.

I thought the story and world building were creative.  What I had a problem with was the climax and ending.  Some readers may not feel the same, but I had the story figured out early on.  I kept hoping maybe there would be some kind of twist in the end but there was not.  While the main character seemed brilliant connecting some of the more obscure clues together, she was unable to see some of the more obvious motives and evidence right in front of her face.  I realize that shock makes you not want to see the truth sometimes but still I had a problem with this.  I am not sure what the author has planned in the next book, as this is the beginning of a series, but I feel this book would have been better as a single book or at least concluded better. I was so disappointed at the end when there was no real closure.

Besides the story being predictable to me, the story itself was not a bad one.  There was some nice mystery, romance, action and zombies.  Although the whole story did not feature the walking dead, they did have some good moments especially closer to the end.  There were also some rather dark elements to the main plot as well as a close up view of the thin line between sane and insane.  Even though I was not surprised by the great reveal of the murderer near the end, the author came up with a pretty extreme way of showing his insanity.  I liked the darkness in this story and how it reflected the inside of the human mind

Overall, Something Strange and Deadly was an experience worth having.  I will check out the next book when it becomes available in hopes of some closure.

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