Sunday, July 7, 2013
Secrets and Surprises: Something Strange and Deadly
Harper Teen, 2012
Historical fiction meets zombies.
Sounds a little out there, right? Well, you're right about that. In the wrong hands, this could go terribly, terribly wrong. Luckily, Susan Dennard knows just how to handle this in her debut novel, Something Strange and Deadly, the first book in a planned trilogy.
It's 1876 and the Dead are rising in Philadelphia, though at first that's the least of Eleanor Fitt's worries. Her brother is missing and her mother's primary goal only seems to be on marrying Eleanor off to a wealthy bachelor to solve the family's money troubles. But when the Dead deliver a message from her brother, Eleanor seeks answers from the Spirit Hunters: a creole man Joseph, a young Chinese girl Jie, and a stubborn and mysterious inventor Daniel. Together can they figure out who is behind the Dead rising and what they're after?
I'll admit that I had one false start with this book, purely because I wasn't quite in the right mood for it. However when I picked up for a second time and another chance, I zipped through this action packed steam punk story. Eleanor is a girl who thinks and while she is ahead of her time in many ways, she doesn't completely throw the societal conventions of the day she's been raised with out the window. She's strong and caring and cautious and daring all at once. The same can be said for the Spirit Hunters, all misfits in their own way but together they make a hell of a team.
Though the pacing at times was a little off to me (things always seemed to slow down whenever Mrs. Fitt and her attempts at getting Eleanor paired off came into the picture), I was easily lost in this story. I'm not usually much of a zombie person, however that's fine here because they weren't the whole story. Neither was the romance (which was incredibly well done - charming and subtle until it wasn't because then it was witty and fantastic), neither were the family issues, neither was the mystery. All of these elements balanced each other out really well, pushing the story forward.
All in all, I'm so happy that I gave this book another chance. Thank you so much to the people who commented here on the blog telling me to read it - you were so right! I can't wait to check out the prequel novella and I'm so happy I won't have to wait long for book two, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, due out July 23, 2013!
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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