Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.
So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.
In Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a trilogy, Susan Dennard weaves together vividly imagined scenes of action, adventure, and gorgeous Victorian fashion to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers who love Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series will be intrigued from the start.

     Maybe it's just the slew of phenomenal books I've read lately, or maybe it's just not the time of year for necromancer/zombie stories, but this book didn't really do it for me. I've heard many good things about it and had so many friends recommend it, but it was just meh. Bland.
     Eleanor Fitt is a typical girl in Philadelphia at the turn of the century. But unlike most of her peers, she does not simper for gentlemen or coo over the newest hat, and she doesn't waste time on things like charm or (I hate to say it) courtesy. She tends to run over other people, oblivious to any problems but her own (which is understandable with the adventure she faces, but not forgivable in all situations). Unfortunately, this was something that really deadened the book for me. She seems only interested in herself and only interested in those who can get something for her, however unintentional this treatment is. And when Daniel (Love Interest) -- think tall, handsome, and a troubled but totally justifiable past -- falls, I had a hard time seeing why. I did appreciate the way she side-stepped most of the frippery the upper classes suffered from and how she was willing to take her problems in her own hands.
Characters: 2 Stars
     This book has quite an interesting premise: necromancers, kidnappings, daredevil steampunkish heroes, all nicely braised in zombies. It didn't quite reach the excitement level I expected, though. Eleanor spends a good deal of her time traveling in a carriage, walking, or ranting about her mother. And despite all the zombies, the story seemed to lag without any real stakes. I had a hard time getting into the mood to keep reading and towards the end just skimmed. There were a few beautiful moments, where characters and setting clicked, but not enough to get me to the next book.
Plot: 2 Stars
      I'd looked forward to this book for a long time. And though the writing style was the slightest bit too choppy for my tastes, I will probably at least glance at the author's future books, if not the ones in this series.
Style: 2.5 Stars

Rating: 2.2 Stars
Source: Library
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
YA Fiction

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