Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by HarperCollins on July 24, 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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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.
“I-I saw them.” I shuffled closer and pointed to the iron bars. “Through the fence.” He sighed. “Can’t say I’m surprised you were here. You have the curiosity of a cat and the common sense of a goldfish.”
I’m a sucker for zombie reads. I love them, oh-so-dearly, but then again, I always have bad luck with them. Name me a zombie YA novel, and I’ll either say (a) I haven’t read it yet, or (b) I read it and hated it/DNF-ed it.
Of course, if you’re like me, then you won’t stop looking for that perfect read from the genre that you usually hate. I’m weird like that. #WeirdAndProud So that’s when Something Strange and Deadly came around. Susan Dennard, you have officially saved the genre of zombies from tearing me apart and infesting me alive.
Historical and zombies? Count me in. In books like these, we usually see something dystopian or even contemporary, like The Walking Dead. Here, we go back way into the past, into the 1800’s, where The Dead are feared of as hell. I mean, who wouldn’t be peeing their pants when they see a strange undead creature rising from their coffins and going off and biting people’s arms off? Eleanor Fitt, the kick-ass protagonist, has a lot more to worry about than just her own personal safety during this outbreak of crazy. Her brother has gone missing, and her family is falling apart—well, her mother is. Her dad is dead, and it’s just her and her wealthy mother left, who wants to ship Eleanor off to some rich guy to get married.
So you’d expect something predictable to happen: maybe Eleanor and the rich guy will end up going off to find her brother in Philadelphia? Nope. Instead, Eleanor’s smart enough to stay where she is. She goes off to research about her brother and where the shenanigans he could be. Then she meets the creeptastic kick-ass Spirit-Hunters, who’s jobs are exactly what their name tells you. They’re like the Ghostbusters… instead they fight all sorts of creatures, including zombies. But they take care of everything.
From there, Eleanor goes on this amazing adventure that sent chills over my spine. Zombie crazy attacks, action scenes all over the place, and forbidden romance. What’s not to like?
This book was everything I wanted in a zombie-paranormal read, well just about. Susan Dennard really is a talented author who gives you the best undead-experience. It’s all researched out, and you will feel like you’re living in Eleanor’s world. The concept is gorgeous, and believable. I was in a 4D movie (you know, like the one with Shrek?) the whole time through.
Eleanor was flawless. That girl is everything you want in your perfect protagonist. She’s kick-ass, fearless, and confident. You learn to have a relationship and friendship that will stay for the whole book, and the sequels to come. (Hopefully…)
The only disappointment (minor, don’t worry) was the love interest, who’s name I won’t mention because it’s probably a spoiler. He wasn’t…. Everything I’d hoped for. He liked her, she liked him… But he didn’t do anything about it. Adding to that—it wasn’t insta-love, either. It could’ve been perfect, but then he ruined it all for me and Eleanor. But for that, let me share a cute scene:
“Did I hurt your feelings? Well, you shouldn’t take it personally, Mr. Sheridan. No one cares about my opinion.” ___’s frown vanished, and the angles of his jaw eased into a gentle sadness. “Maybe I care.”
I had to blank that name out so you lovelies won’t get mad at me for spoiling. 🙂 Tee hee.
By the end, I was in love with this new warm fuzzy of greatness. The ending was ferocious and stunning, and I was addicted to receive the sequel. Eleanor’s voice is real and believable, and the plot was racing and thrilling. What else can you possibly ask for in a creepy novel like this?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Published by HarperTeen on July 23, 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository
Darkness has come to the City of Light…
With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst—that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.
To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city…and there’s a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely…and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
In this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard delivers a thrilling mix of intrigue, romance, and revenge, all set against the wonderfully enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.
“I floated on air. Giddy. Positively brimming with joy and perfection. My gown was beautiful, and I was beautiful—more beautiful than I had ever been in my entire life. The bloodred color of the fabric made my skin glow and my cheeks bright. My hair was coiled and curled, and roses were tucked in at the back.”
Sequels are always a new beginning, in a way. The previous book may have ended with a huge petrifying cliffhanger, but that’s not going to really going to affect the next book’s start. The main events have occurred, and now through the sequel and finale (if it’s a trilogy), we’re slowly getting to an end, with more action and sexiness. A Darkness Strange and Lovely sadly didn’t go amazing as planned, or even close to the potential and amazingness that the first and previous novel went to.
As the book began and the story unfolded, I was in love. It’s been a week since I’ve read Something Strange and Deadly, and we were left off with a huge tearing cliffhanger. Here, Eleanor is left alone. Her mother’s mentality is going out of control since the news about Eleanor’s brother, Elijah came around, and her mom is denying everything. She’s currently in an asylum, and Eleanor’s depressing herself because her only friends, the Spirit-Hunters, are off in Paris. She soon finds out that she isn’t able to stand her loneliness anymore, so she steals a ticket and flees to Paris in a ship. There, she meets a handsome man named Oliver, but he has yellow eyes. She finds out that he’s a demon, but the good kind. Elijah surprisingly was his master, and through blood, he is somehow bound to Eleanor. Then, with new friends, she arrives to Paris, and she finds that The Dead have invaded Paris as well…
Susan Dennard has really increased the pacing and action in this book…. At least she tried to.
The first quarter of the book was thrilling and enjoyable. The whole steamer scene and moments beforehand interested me, but then afterwards, I was lost. I just don’t know what went wrong. Was it the different atmosphere? Philadelphia to Paris was a big change for the characters, especially the Spirit-Hunters, and I guess that influenced my reading experience as well.
From there on, the plot twisted around. It went up and down. For a burst of chapters, everything went smoothly, and then it got boring again and I didn’t feel like I was connecting to the side characters and setting as well. Was it cliche? Nope, not really, but I just didn’t feel like I was interested. It was like Jie, Joseph and Daniel were calling me to love this book. And then I was like:
Because I want to fall in love with the book by myself. I’m a big girl now, characters! Take baby steps to try to intrigue me. 😀
As the story deepened to its other phase, the romance slightly got even more scandalous but it went up and down at times. You could tell that Eleanor (my favourite character forever and always) was having trouble dealing with her feelings and emotions and needed someone to hold her. Hopefully by the end it will be ___? Someone who will treat her good since she’s done so much to help others. 🙂
DON’T TELL ME ANY SPOILERS, YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO I CAN TRUST SO DEARLY MUCH!
I don’t think that I’d ever DNF a book by Susan Dennard. Her writing is lush and precious, but this book went slightly more downhill than I would’ve liked. I wanted something new and better, but we just got a little more different recap of the previous novel to take our time. I’m hoping that the finale will give me the feels and happiness that I’m literally bracing myself for!
Rating: 2.5 out of 5