Some of you may know that I originally had my own blog, Beauty but a Funny Girl, prior to joining Bookish (now Bookish Lifestyle). I was thinking the other day about all those reviews I left behind when I transferred and thought they should get some love too - no matter how badly written and newbie they come off! So I present to you: Throwback Thursday Reviews! Every once in a while I'll post an old review from Beauty but a Funny Girl, unedited in terms of content, with the exception of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It's definitely going to be fun and interesting to see how my tastes and writing style have changed over the years!
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Steampunk Publication.Date: July 24 2012 Pages: 388 (hardcover) Published By: HarperTeen Website: Susan Dennard Something Strange and Deadly on Goodreads My review copy: Bought
Where to get:
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.
To be honest, I only picked up Something Strange and Deadly, because of A Darkness Strange and Lovely’s cover. I had no idea what what this book was about when I picked it up. I skimmed Goodreads and saw that friends liked it and gave it high ratings, so I figured it was worth the shot.
It was worth the shot and more!
Philadelphia is being plagued by the rising dead. Apparently, the dead rising from the grave is something that happens now and again and, while being scared of the dead, people are used to it. So much so that the government of Philadelphia have hired a group called the Shadow-Hunters to figure out the problem. We know a necromancer is to blame for the rising dead, we just don’t know why or who said necromancer is. I kind of liked the fact that the rising dead weren’t that prominent. I’m not a huge fan of zombies, but these weren’t really zombies. Since they were controlled, they only did what the necromancer told them to do. However, there are the Hungry who are more zombie like as the necromancer has lost control of them.
The novel starts with Eleanor receiving a letter, delivered by a corpse, that her brother got into a little bit of trouble in New York, but not to worry. Bad news all around as her family is going broke and her brother coming home was their last hope. Well, that and Eleanor finding a rich suitor to marry her. Enter Clarence Wilcox. Clarence has the funds, the looks... and a secret. Of course, Eleanor’s mother his thrilled by Clarence’s attention toward Eleanor.
This woman has a very one-track mind and I feel sorry for Eleanor. All she cares about is her son coming home (because they need money) and Eleanor marrying somebody of high status (because they need money). I get that it’s a different time and this is really all young women could hope for, but good Lord woman. Even when things are falling apart this is all she cares about. Luckily for Eleanor, every time she sneaks out, she is able to use Clarence as a reason and then her mother just doesn’t care what happens at that point. “You just disappeared! Unacceptable!” “But I was with Clearance.” “Oh... okay then. No biggie.” (Summarization, not actual dialogue.)
As far as the Shadow-Hunters are concerned, I am in love. This is such a ragtag group and they really pull together to solve the mystery, with Eleanor’s help. I love that Eleanor pretty much demands to be part of this group and help, regardless of what may happen to her.
Eleanor herself is just an amazing character. She is feisty, strong, brave, strong, and I just love her determination to help the Shadow-Hunters and find her brother. She is the character that I want to be friends with. She tries to do whatever she can for those she loves, but at the same time, wants to be happy herself.
The romance was not in your face and very subtle, which was a nice change. There was a building of the relationship. His character definitely had to grow on me, which he did around page 150. So it took a while, but near the end of the book I was basically yelling at the two of them to get their shit together.
The story itself was very creative and filled with great detail that really put me in the time period. I connected with the characters, Eleanor especially, and I had no trouble picturing the things Dunnard described. I did find the twist at the end a little cliche, but that might be because I just read a book with the same twist. Of course, what saved it is how Dunnard handled the situation, that I did not see coming.
This is a series I am absolutely going to continue. I pre-ordered A Dawn Most Wicked and A Darkness Strange and Lovely immediately after I finished this book. I suggest you do the same.