Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Early Review - Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Zombies
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 24, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0062083265
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This was an absolutely wonderful book; I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a wonderful blend of horror/historical fantasy/steampunk/walking undead with a little romance thrown in. The heroine is absolutely wonderful and I loved reading about her. The world is creative and interesting and the plot incredibly well done. The second book, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, is due out in 2013.

Eleanor Fitt has more to worry about than your average Victorian young lady; her brother has gone missing, her family is nearly destitute, and her mother wants to solve the problem by marrying her off to a rich young man. This is nothing though compared to the problems plaguing the city; the dead have started rising and they are hungry. When Eleanor suspects that her brother is somehow involved with the Dead she hunts down the group of Spirit Hunters for help.

I loved this book. It was fast-moving, had a wonderful plot, wonderful characters, and was very creative. There is witty banter and humor woven throughout the story that made it a lot of fun to read. The walking dead in this novel aren’t the result of a strange infection but are instead the result of necromancy. They don’t spread infection but they are still incredibly hungry for human flesh.

Eleanor is an absolutely wonderful character. She tries to be a proper lady and even goes along with her mother trying to hook her up with the rich Clarence. Still she is determined to find her brother (who is also her best friend) and she will stop at nothing to find him. She ends up sneaking in visits to the Spirit Hunters in between her normal errands and house calls.

As the story progresses Eleanor really shows her metal; she throws herself into everything she does, takes risks to save those she is loyal to and is so much more tough than she seems in the beginning. She really grows a lot as the book continues. She is one of those rare heroines that really takes a lot of physical damage throughout her escapades; she doesn't heal supernaturally but just pushes through to do what she can. I love seeing a heroine actually take realistic damage and have to deal with aftermath; it just makes the story more real to me.

The Spirit Hunters aren’t your average ghost busters (although they do use a mixture of strange steampunkish technology and electricity to deal with their spirits) there is also an element of magic to it all. Of course one of the Spirit Hunters is the young and handsome mechanical genius Daniel. Daniel and Eleanor drive each other crazy in both a bad and a good way; this adds a little romance to the story as they have great chemistry together.

The plot is incredibly well put together, it was a bit predictable, but still very well done. The elements of Eleanor’s missing brother, an evil Spirit, the Walking Dead, and the Spirit Hunters are all nicely tied together as the story progresses.

Overall I absolutely loved everything about this book. Great world, wonderful writing, excellent characters, and a fast-paced plot. When reading this book you can’t help but compare it to Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel; I liked this book quite a bit more than that one. If you do like Dearly, Departed by Habel I think you would really enjoy this book as well. I would also recommend this book to adult readers who are fans of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. This was an excellent steampunk/zombie/historical fantasy. I can’t wait to read the second book, A Darkness Strange and Lovely!

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Zombie Reading Challenge
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- Debut Author Reading Challenge
- Steampunk Reading Challenge

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