Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Something Strange and Deadly

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Something Strange and Deadly
Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Release date: July 24th 2012
by HarperTeen (Amazon)


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.

*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Canada for review purposes*
When I went into this, I was expecting a zombie book in a steampunk setting with some mystery elements. What I actually got was a paranormal fantasy with a cute romance, a fun mystery, but not nearly enough zombies for my tastes. I still enjoyed it for the most part, it was simply different than what I was expecting.

Zombies are how we get introduced to this world Susan has created. A memorable start during a zombie attack, to which begins the mysterious plot of the book: what has happened to Eleanor’s brother, and who is controlling these undead. These aren’t your diseased, all consuming brain eating zombies; in Something Strange and Deadly, the zombies are literally plucked from their graves, and controlled by a necromancer. This was easily my favorite part of the story, but as I stated, these undead are merely on the back burner, making very few appearances, while Eleanor works with the spirit-hunters to find her brother and expel the evil spirit on her trail.

Creativity is definitely at work in this story. The steampunk world, the language, the attire – it all stems from an incredible imagination. I could easily picture everything vividly, and in no way did I feel overwhelmed by the detailing or contraptions that can sometimes happen in a steampunk setting. The plot itself is full of intrigue and even tough it’s not necessarily action-packed, I was made to care about the characters to such degree that I constantly wanted to know what was in store for them next. I was also kept engaged by the myriad of mysteries woven into this novel. Some of it is predictable, but for the most part I was in the dark until the very end.

Eleanor is an easy to connect with character. I particularly loved her feistiness throughout, especially when dealing with the stubborn spirit-hunters. The romance, though not a huge part of the story, is played in nice and sweet giving us enough to quench our thirst, but making us positively longing for more. I found this much more refreshing than an instant connection. It’s believable and gives us time to get to know them independently before being thrown lustfully together.

A highly creative, well written paranormal fantasy novel, I would recommend Something Strange and Deadly to all fans of the steampunk genre. Don’t anticipate a true zombie book like I did, and I’m certain you will be quickly absorbed in this Victorian world full of secrets and lies. 

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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41 Responses to “Review: Something Strange and Deadly”

  1. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    Aw, I’m sorry to hear that this didn’t thrill you, because I’m hoping its going to thrill me lol. The “paranormal fantasy with a cute romance” will be enough for me, I think. It sounds like the type of romance I love too, just a smidgeon to get us going 🙂 While I’m not a big fan of steampunk, the premise sounds so good that I am going to overlook it. Nice review!

  2. Eileen

    Great review as always! I do agree on the fact that there weren’t a lot of zombies present, but I really liked that because I’m actually really new to the whole zombie genre and it kind of was a nice ice-breaker for me 🙂

  3. Amy

    It’s a shame there wasn’t more zombie action, but it still sounds like a fabulous read. I love steampunk so I think that that aspect alone will really capture me. I can’t wait to read this one. I have a pre-order of it coming when it’s released.

  4. Nick

    I was expecting a whole lot zombies as well, but I can understand why you would be a little more disappointed than other fans with you being such a HUGE fan of zombies. I agree that the world was really creative. 🙂 Eleanor was really feisty, wasn’t she?
    Like you, I was happy that there was no instant love. As you said, it’s more believable that way.
    Great review, Giselle. 🙂

  5. Christina

    My favorite part was definitely Eleanor! My review will be going up this evening. I really liked it. I really love when people do something different with the zombies. 🙂

    Steampunky goodness!

  6. Karen

    Well crap, I was expecting tons ‘o zombies too. Oh well, it still sounds like a pretty good read. I’ll just re-set my expectations to a paranormal romance/steampunk with a few zombies.

  7. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter)

    This sure sounds interesting! I love the cover …

    I’m just new to zombies, so I don’t think I would’ve noticed that there wasn’t a huge zombie presence! Either way, I still want to read it. 🙂 It sounds fun!

    Great review!

  8. Stephsco

    This looks like a YA cover; I haven’t seen much adult market lit with this kind of cover. Maybe this is zombie-lite 🙂 I don’t tend to love zombie stuff either, but I like a mash up genres, I usually give them a chance.

  9. Alexa

    This sounds like an interesting combination – zombies + romance + steampunk. I definitely think I’m going to have to check this out!

  10. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I won this last week from GoodReads and I am SO excited to read it! I know you gave it three espressos, but I think I will love it since zombies aren’t too heavily featured in the book 😉 I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it overall, though. Great review, muffin!

  11. Natalia Belikov @ Dazzling Reads

    I realized that I am not a fan of zombies or witches, thus this one seems to be a perfect fit for me 🙂

    I guess I will enjoy it more than you. Unfortunately, I have tones of books in my pile already and Im trying to make it smaller, not bigger (which is incredibly hard) lol… but maybe I’ll pick it up XD
    great review sweetheart. 🙂

  12. Anna @ Literary Exploration

    This was a good zombie book for me since I don’t usually enjoy them. I loved this one, I loved the steampunk elements and how vivid everything was. Too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did 🙂 But I’m not surprised LOL!

  13. Shane

    Yea i’ve gotten into the zombie thing after reading This is not a Test. Great review and can’t wait to read this myself.

  14. Addie R.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t love it, but I’m glad you still enjoyed it. Thanks for the amazing review! I now have a feel of what I’ll expect to be getting into.

  15. Aneeqah

    Darn it, no zombies. 😛 I was really hoping that there would be some good zombies in this one! However, I am glad that there is some good world-building in this one. I feel like that’s a hard thing to accomplish especially with a steampunk world, so it’s nice to hear that it’s really great and well-done.

    I’m sorry that you didn’t fall in love with this one, Giselle! And I’m sad that there aren’t very many zombies. =( However, I still think I will pick this one up, but I’ll definitely be changing my expectations. Thanks for the fabulous review! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  16. Danny

    The fact that it’s not a real Zombie book might make it more interesting for me.. (still, I am not convinced about the awesomness that are Zombies…lol) but, I am stil not entirely sure about this book! Hm! 🙂
    Sorry that it wasn’t what you expected!

  17. Maji Bookshelf

    Okay, this doesnt sound too bad! I don’t really like it when the book is heavy on the paranormal, but I am happy to know its a cute and fun mystery/romance! This will probably be my first steampunk book, so i hope i’ll enjoy it! Great review Giselle!
    – Farah @MajiBookshelf

  18. Camille Picott

    Big dresses are so overdone in covers these days, but I can’t help it – I totally love them! This book hooked me with the synop. Great review! I am definitely going to check this one out. Too bad it wasn’t “zombie” enough, but sounds like the rest of the story was good enough to make up for it.

  19. Zoe Crook

    This looks quite interesting, but it doesn’t really look like my type of book. I love the cover though! 😉 Great review, I’m a new follower x

  20. Smash Attack!

    Ohhhh…zombies from Necromancy? I love it. I do love when an author has great description from the steampunk era. It’s so intricate and gorgeous. I wish more zombies were part of this story too, but since I don’t have that expectation now, maybe I will enjoy it more. 🙂

  21. bookworm105

    It’s sad to see that you didn’t like it. I still want to give this a go though even though i read zombie books rarely. But i do love the sound of steampunk!

    Great review! =D

  22. Shooting Stars Mag

    Sounds interesting. I’m sorry there wasn’t that much zombie action, but maybe they will appear more in the next novel. I think it would still be an intriguing read!


  23. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I do love a good feisty character. The cover tells me nothing about this book–I like that it’s less zombie, more paranormal. I do like zombies but more in horror than a romance-y book.

  24. Giselle

    @Stephsco : It’s a YA novel 🙂 That’s why. I love the cover!

    @bookworm105: Actually I did like it. Like I said in my review, it was just different than what I expected.

    Thanks everyone!

  25. Rebecca - Kindle Fever

    I have to admit that the fact that it’s not a truetrue zombie book, kind of makes me even more intrigued. Like you, it’s kind of what I expected, so now I’m definitely curious! Sweet romance is definitely a plus too. I really hope I’ll end up enjoying it! 🙂

  26. Candace

    I’m thinking this might be one I would really enjoy. I’m not a fan of zombies too much so hearing they aren’t in the forefront is a relief. I think I have to read this!

  27. Missie, The Unread Reader

    It’s always a bit disappointed when the book is more of what you expected it to be. I’m surprised that the zombies weren’t a focal point. And I think the romance sounds a bit to ‘tame’ that what I usually prefer, but sweet romances can be a nice, too.

    I haven’t read many steampunk novels, so I’ll definitely add this one to my list. Thanks for the great review.

  28. ❤ Vivian

    OMG I’ve been looking forward to this review because this book really got my attention! Glad to hear that it has some great aspects to it. Hmmm, ah well. I don’t really mind not-hardcore-zombie XD Thanks for the green light, and great review!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  29. ❤ Vivian

    OMG I’ve been looking forward to this review because this book really got my attention! Glad to hear that it has some great aspects to it. Hmmm, ah well. I don’t really mind not-hardcore-zombie XD Thanks for the green light, and great review!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  30. ❤ Vivian

    OMG I’ve been looking forward to this review because this book really got my attention! Glad to hear that it has some great aspects to it. Hmmm, ah well. I don’t really mind not-hardcore-zombie XD Thanks for the green light, and great review!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  31. ❤ Vivian

    OMG I’ve been looking forward to this review because this book really got my attention! Glad to hear that it has some great aspects to it. Hmmm, ah well. I don’t really mind not-hardcore-zombie XD Thanks for the green light, and great review!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  32. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Ohh, how original that the zombies are controlled! I really like that aspect. And the creativity + easy main character are also points I like 🙂 Lovely review, can’t wait to read this one! Everybody seems so positive about it.

  33. Caitlin

    Something Strange and Deadly was very unique with not only the zombies but with all the characters as well. I loved the setting of Philly, especially Exhibition Hall. I truly felt like I was right there with Eleanor and the spirit hunters. I am very excited that the setting for A Darkness Strange and Lovely will be Paris and I am so crossing my fingers for more of Daniel. This was definitely a fast paced read and I can’t wait to continue the series.

  34. Jac

    Reading the blurb, I didn’t think this book was for me, but after your review? I may have to look into it! (At least put it on my list at the library maybe… besides, the cover is GORGEOUS!)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books