Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

something strangeSomething Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Teen
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Summary from 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.


4 out of 5

3.75 out of 5

My Thoughts

Something Strange and Deadly has been on my TBR list since before it was released.  I was so intrigued by the whole concept, zombies in 1800s Philadelphia.  Umm , yes, please! I did put it off, though, because I was sort of expecting it to be a slower read.  I don’t mean a book that is boring, or a slow story, just a book that would take longer to read.  I guess I was expecting it to be super descriptive, and that it would take a little bit for the story to get going.  But, you guys, I was totally wrong.  I was hooked from page one.

From the first page, the action is there.  There isn’t really a huge info dump first chapter, and I loved that.  But even without the info dump, Dennard makes it easy to understand what this world is like.  Speaking of the setting – it’s sent in the 1870s in Philadelphia – except the dead have risen, and there’s a bit of a panic going on.  And into this setting, Eleanor is searching for her missing older brother.  Oh, and did I mention that Eleannor’s mama has accidentally conjured up a ghost?  And to top off Eleanor’s worry about her missing brother, her family is seriously low on funds.

Eleanor is really an awesome main character.  I loved seeing her growth throughout the whole story.  She’s a lady of society, so she’s got quite a lot of restrictions on her, and yet she still does what she thinks is right.

Eleanor is definitely the sole main character of Something Strange and Deadly, but Dennard infuses her story with wonderful, well-developed secondary characters.  I particularly adored Daniel.  Daniel is one of a few Spirit-Hunters, trying to figure out and solve the mystery of the rising dead.  He’s got a temper, although he isn’t really mean.  He’s not afraid to express his opinion, even though he’s not really respected.

As I mentioned above, this novel starts with a bang.  But I did feel like it dragged a little bit towards the middle.  I  never really got bored, or contemplated putting the book down, but I did get a little impatient.  Another small issue was that it was really easy to figure out the mystery, and to guess what would happen next.

Something Strange and Deadly was such a fun read.  I love the setting, the characters, and the story.  Even knowing who the baddie was, I still enjoyed this one immensely.  If you haven’t read this one, seriously give it a try.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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8 Responses to Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

  1. lipsyy says:

    I’ve seen this around quite a lot- such a beautiful cover- I want to find a copy even more now 🙂 Sounds great.

  2. I’ve had my eye on this for awhile, but wasn’t sure if I would like it. Your review definitely made re-think that! The setting sounds fascinating and Eleanor sounds like a heroine I would love to know more about.

  3. LilysBookBlog says:

    This books been on my TBR since it came out (just like you) but i’ve put it off for so long too for whatever reason. Everyone’s been saying really good things about it though and I know you liked it so i’m happy about that! Hopefully I like it too! 🙂 Great review Quinn
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  4. I So want to read this now!!

  5. I’m not sure why I still haven’t read this book. It sounds fantastic, especially the setting :D! Great review.


  6. Book Blather says:

    I only dare approach a slow read when I’m on a book roll, otherwise it ensures I never finish the book, then I feel guilty and I don’t read anything for ages… 😦

  7. Candice says:

    Huzzah! I really enjoyed this one, despite thinking it would just be okay. It was so visually fun, with the fair and the setting… kind of like a weird steampunk vibe going on, but not really. And hello… zombies. My favorite. I will say that while I did like this one, I LOVED the sequel. It got so much more darker and exciting… not to mention Eleanor grew as a character into someone I adored! Hope you get to read it soon! 🙂

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