Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Title/Author: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, July 24th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "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."

This is a hard review for me to write, because I wanted so badly to love this book. Because Susan Dennard seems like a really wonderful person and she's a debut author and I REALLY want to love all the books by awesome people! Maybe even more so because her best friend is an author whose work I love and who gives the best book recommendations.
But in all honesty, I can't say that this was the book for me.

I'm not much of a fan of zombie books, but I kept reading reviews that stated even if you didn't like zombies, you'd still enjoy this novel and they weren't present a lot. Which was true. And I don't think it was the creepy Dead that were the problem for me.

I wasn't sucked into the story and I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. There was just something missing and I kept wondering if I should just put it down, but because I wanted to love it so badly I stuck with it. Eleanor was a bit bland to me and I only ever really liked one of the characters: Jie. Jie is awesome. Jie is a Chinese girl who shaves her head and wears men's clothing and kick a whole lot of ass. But other than this, I don't really know a lot about her. Still, she is awesome.

I couldn't warm up to Daniel as a love interest, he was so annoying! I didn't really feel the chemistry between him and Elaenor and it just didn't work for me. Mostly though, I think none of the characters were fleshed out enough for me to love them or actually care what was happening to them. And to me, that is a problem.

I guessed who was the necromancer pretty much in the first chapter, so the whole plot twist wasn't all that twisty for me. I did think the Dead were sufficiently creepy (seriously, if you're dead, please stay that way, cause it creeps me out when zombies go around trying to eat people! The only way I'm ok with the undead is when they're still rational, like vampires or revenants) and it would have been interesting to learn just a little bit more about how the whole necromancer thing worked.

I did think that in the end the book redeemed itself somewhat by the last chapter, which I felt in my sappy little romantic heart. I don't want to give anything away, but THIS I felt. The strength of that last chapter is what I would have wanted for the whole of the novel and it's making me question whether or not I should continue with the series.

I struggled with this book and in the end I don't think it was the book for me, but I know a lot of people really loved it!

My rating: 2 stars


  1. I'm actually quite looking forward to reading this, if only because it sounds like an interesting combination of elements (Victorian + zombies) to me! It makes me sad that it didn't quite live up to the hype for you though.

  2. Aww sounds like quite a let down in many levels.
    That's too bad. I had heard about this bok and was looking forward to it too!

    Too bad.

  3. That's too bad... I was slightly interested in this book, but I think you've helped me make the decision to not bother with it. Thanks for your honest review!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl